Agent responsible for PMQs UC eviction letter meeting PM’s Policy Board Chairman and Shadow Housing Minister

Agent responsible for PMQs UC eviction letter meeting PM’s Policy Board Chairman and Shadow Housing Minister

11:40 AM, 20th November 2017, About 4 years ago 41

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I am the agent responsible for the letter warning my tenants of the impending Universal Credit that was coupled with their s.21 notice and a reminder that if rent is not paid on time then I will have no option but to evict, that was read out by Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs last Wednesday.

I, along with a handful of other industry figures, already had a private lunch with George Freeman, MP (Chair of the PM’s Policy Board) arranged for this week, but now he has requested a separate one-on-one discussion either before or afterwards to discuss UC further. I probably only have a 10-minute window to get across any points and was hoping for some suggestions.

I will also be meeting with Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister – Melanie Onn, MP- (the individual that passed the letter to JC) the following day. That meeting will likely be slightly longer, although I expect will be the more difficult one because she appears to be firmly of the opinion that I am ‘circumventing the law’ by issuing s.21 and even if I am not technically, I shouldn’t be able to issue notice ‘ahead of time’.

Essentially, people matter more than any business and it should be as difficult as possible for LLs to evict, because it’s not nice to be evicted when UC delays are not the claimants’ fault and because of humanity.

I have literally no idea how to tackle this logic. If it is suggested that s.21 be removed as an option, then I will be informing her of my inability to vote Labour as well as my exiting from the industry.

I don’t believe she understands the concept of free-market capitalism, nor the concept of free-choice. I am not in this industry and do not work 60hrs a week, on-call 24/7 providing 350+ homes as the second largest provider of PRS property to benefit claimants purely to be a helpful humanitarian.

I don’t believe her opinion is helped by the fact that at the age of seventeen Onn was supported by Doorstep, a Grimsby-based charity which provides housing support to young people. I’m unsure what lead to the circumstances of her requiring that support, but imagine it had something to do with a LL that is now clouding her view.

Suggestions welcome.


by Ian Ringrose

19:48 PM, 20th November 2017, About 4 years ago

With Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, point out that if the courts were correctly funded and worked at the speed the law a says they should, maybe landlord would trust a S8....

by Mick Roberts

8:01 AM, 21st November 2017, About 4 years ago

I've got dozens of houses in Nottingham and have specialized in Housing Benefit HB for 20 years.

In Nottingham at the moment, it is only single people who have a break in their claim, that go into Universal Credit UC.

I've had 3 in the last 18 months and it's been turmoil on all 3, 100% failure rate.

Like u, when all tenants get switched, we gonna be in s__t street.

Important points I've encountered so far which I would ask/tell is:

This is part of a log I have on existing tenant, so copy your own bits into it:

We send a letter to UC SAYING TENANT IS IN ARREARS, why don't anyone at DWP, UC, see that letter & say Hang on, she in arrears, don’t pay her, & then UC contact me to say Right Mick, this is what you need to do to make sure u get the UC rent Housing element paid to u to make sure rent gets paid & ultimately mortgage gets paid.
In my opinion, ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS TO KEEP PAYING TENANT, when been told arrears.
Yes UC keep paying tenant even though been told in arrears, cause kid on the computer han't got common sense & wants to see the arrears come in on proper form to proper address & we can't even email 'cause we han't got secure email address, they so preciously require.
And this form, they keep changing 'cause it is never right, they haven't perfected it yet-Go copy HB that been doing direct payment 9 years since LHA.

We need to change policy if that is the case, plain obvious don’t pay tenant any more when YOU KNOW they in arrears.
Or even to not pay any more, till you’ve told Landlord what he needs to do to get direct payment.
I am further complaining, why when I’ve sent an email in to say UC47 APA arrears or whatever it is, why aren’t you ringing, emailing me, to say Yes Mick, got your arrears form, u don’t have to panic any more.
We’ve all learn’t from Local Housing Allowance, DON’T pay the tenant if any problems, any arrears, pay the Landlord. Why isn’t UC learning from this?
I explain I don’t want any direct deductions from tenants benefit, as once arrears are cleared, U start to pay tenant again & we are back to square one. Daft in’t it, a tenant in arrears is like god-dust, valuable, we want to keep them. We have learn’t this from LHA, why isn’t UC learning this?

Tracy says it’s not a matter of course to say we have received the UC47, our problem is we don’t know if they have been received, we sent 7 of ‘em in & only one had received.
We only get notification when it has been actioned & payment put in place, that is the only time we know, so as again, we could send lots in & not know they’ve been received.

Why aren't UC telling us they have received the UC47 form? So we can relax?
Ring us email us tell which form I need where. Don't keep paying just cause you've not had this treasured holy grail UC47 form that your staff so desire on the phone.
What's the worse that could happen if u pay the Landlord?
Go talk to HB staff. Learn the lesson they learnt.
Why are u asking tenant if they in arrears and then coming to your decision. Are u proper thick? What if when tenant says no not in arrears? Are u gonna pay him again as u have been doing? Do u not get it, it's in his interests to say arrears so he gets some more spondoolies to go Skegness with.

Also tell 'em as well, Homeless shelters are full, Travelodges are full with homeless & UC tenants, but u don't see this publicised.

Why aren't they talking to Landlord when tenant in arrears? How we gonna' solve it?
As again, go learn from experienced HB staff.

Apologies for my log & rants Luke, but I only have THREE UC tenants at moment, & u may be able to pick something up from my log. But that is my experience so far & my log is happening up & down the country.
I had UC complaint woman with common sense ring me yesterday, she said she is constantly being phone by MP's up & down the country with same problems as me. So the MP's are gradually seeing it.

by Mike D

9:00 AM, 21st November 2017, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 20/11/2017 - 12:36
Its a Self Seeking Exocet, as an ex boss described to me......
IF you as a government created the environment, then its coming back to bite you.
Landlords need only 2 things; Tenants to look after the house, and Tenants to pay the rent...easy! (You'd think) Unfortunately neither of these are true with Benefit claimants largely. As a result, if your lucky all goes well, but the high propensity of Tenants who are on benefits, Don't pay the rent and then having lost/spent thousands to get rid of them, then suffer another few thousands of refurbishment for the squalid way they choose to live.
This as Ian says, makes them completely undesirable as a Tenant and a high financial risk. A Bank would not loan money to a high risk customer, unless the rewards were high to off set known losses.
My only evictions are to Non paying tenants as i can not subsidize their lifestyle, as my mortgage company won't let me pay my mortgage randomly when i choose, as a tenant would have it.
S24 has heightened that as your likely to be loosing money to start with, and you then surely can't take further financial losses. Social housing/Government can stand the losses of small rents, high capital investment, constant expenditure of refurbishments......Oh yes they have forgotten why councils sold off their housing stock in the 1st place..... the huge losses when the rents weren't high enough to cover refurbishment costs, so they sold them to organizations to refurb, but then rents went up to pay for them.
No one in government has actually fully calculated the 'True' cost of property, the system as they would now like it, goes back to the 70s of a huge burden of tax subsidized property for those who can't and won't pay. It didn't work then and it won't work again, and the proof is the PRS.

by Dr Rosalind Beck

9:14 AM, 21st November 2017, About 4 years ago

It might also be worth having a brief list/summary of all the things which have financially hit landlords recently - which you could hand to George Freeman: UC, Section 24, licensing (where fees are in the hundreds and they often suggest work which costs thousands in order to justify their fees - saying they aim to crack down on rogue landlords but only decent landlords register and adhere to it all), individual council tax banding in HMOs - which could wipe many landlords out when the yield is low - additional stamp duty which hampers buying and selling, exemption for CGT reduction (which discourages selling - when Osborne purported to want landlords to sell to first time buyers - which of course then cuts rental supply) and any more you can think of. Also court costs which have gone up massively, the practice of charities and councils telling non-paying tenants to stay put and steal more hundreds or thousands off landlords in the form of unpaid rent, more regulations which cost - like EPCs - and other regulations we've had for years and which cost each year like gas safety certs. It would be nice if someone could do a little table of these costs. Kate Faulkner, of Property Checklists, made the point that different departments, Ministers and so on and also councils and the Opposition are coming up with things all the time which they are slamming landlords with, without any of them having the full picture of the amount of shit which is landing on us. Philip Hammond even said on the Andrew Marr show, how we need more rental accommodation (he added 'purpose-built' because of course they are still cosying up to their pals in the Build to Rent brigade) - how they think constantly pushing us into a corner will help anyone is beyond me.

by Julie Kirby

10:01 AM, 21st November 2017, About 4 years ago

You may be able to use my current example for my property in Cwmbran, south Wales. We are experienced landlords and let to working families (which is a condition of our mortgages).
Our joint tenants of two years – who have made a lovely home - have had a change of circumstance, have a new baby and have dropped to one wage for now. They tell us they have had a UC claim in since August which keeps deducting for twice the one wage coming in -but if and when it is sorted they will be eligible for the housing benefit element (£100 less than the current rent).

I have spent some time negotiating the system but have been unable to verify any of this as I’m not a party to the UC application. As the arrears stand at two month’s rent to date I have followed the UC website ‘potential eviction’ link which generated a call back only to be told they cannot verify any details as I’m not authorised on the account! I have filled out a UC47 online and am astounded that this hasn’t even generated an acknowledgement – we have no idea whether it is being processed. In addition my tenant is at the end of his patience and tells me that he will no longer phone UC as calls have already cost him so much money – so I cannot get added to his account to verify anything – how long does the UC system expect us to wait and why?

I have spent time researching our tenants’ options to try to help them out. I have spoken to our local bond scheme to ask if they would provide a bond to him as an existing tenant so we could use his current bond to pay off one month of arrears. I’m told the bond scheme is usually for new tenancies but they would be happy to meet the tenant – he has done nothing about this – but does work 50 hours a week and has a new baby. I’ve also referred him to our council’s financial inclusion team as there may be a discretionary housing payment available – haven’t heard a thing since. I sent the tenant’s wife info on the married tax allowance – which she hasn’t replied to.

We are prepared to wait for the next rental date but if no payment is received again we will be carrying 3 month’s arrears and are holding only a one month bond. We are still paying mortgage payments and are aware that one of the mortgage conditions has been breached.

Unless anyone has a solution the only option I can see is to issue an eviction notice two weeks before Christmas to a working family with a young baby which is definitely what we have been trying to avoid.

by terry sullivan

11:13 AM, 21st November 2017, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Dr Rosalind Beck at 20/11/2017 - 14:03
Onn has never had a real job--i would just ignore her--shes a wos

by Luke P

11:23 AM, 21st November 2017, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by terry sullivan at 21/11/2017 - 11:13
Does anyone know her background as to why she needed the help of a housing charity? One would have thought that someone capable of making it as an MP would be either self-sufficient (even at 17) or have a reasonable family support network so as to not require a charity’s help for her housing needs… I think perhaps she’s had first-hand experience of a rogue landlord that is clouding her judgment.

Edit (to answer my own question):

Onn, 38, lived on two local estates, and describes herself as “born and bred social housing”. She has also experienced youth homelessness. Aged 17, while living with her aunt, they had a falling out, and she ended up turning to local charity Doorstep for support. It provides accommodation for 16 to 25-year-olds in Grimsby and neighbouring Cleethorpes. “They put me in a house with girls of a similar age, who’d had similar family breakdowns. It was a lifesaver, because it was a really tense situation,” Onn recalls.

I think she perhaps got a little bit mouthy with her house-providing Aunt…

by Chris @ Possession Friend

16:53 PM, 21st November 2017, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 21/11/2017 - 08:01
A complaint and a claim for Compensation should be made against UC.
I have done this uccessfully with a Council in the past, where I'd advised them the Tenant wasn't passing on their HB to me, yet the Council did not promptly stop HB and open an enquiry ( invite the Tenant in for an interview within next 7 days to explain why they weren't passing on their rent ) Upon my formal complaint to the Council, I had my HB part of my rent arrears, repaid. If it works for Councils, it should work for UC.
Failing that, a complaint to LGO ( I know they're on the side of local and National Government ) or even a MCOL against UC - somebody needs to do it !

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