Who is banging their head against a wall with Universal Credit?

by Mick Roberts

9:59 AM, 13th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Who is banging their head against a wall with Universal Credit?

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Who is banging their head against a wall with Universal Credit?

Are any of you landlords struggling with Universal Credit?bang head

I have just used someone who could be our answer to not being paid at all.

Yes me too, I’ve just used Sherrelle & Caridon, & my complicated case has been solved. Mental health issues tenant claimed Universal Credit (UC), as long as he was getting his money, he forgot to tell UC that he had to pay rent!
I started the phone calls, but due to my earlier experience with UC 11 months earlier, I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere.
I even rang UC while I was with the tenant, you can quite clearly tell he is not all there on the phone & UC still wouldn’t talk to me. Aaahhhh..
If anyone knows, UC won’t take emails either (yes in 2017).

On my first case Feb/March 2016. I gave up in the end. UC wouldn’t talk to me, wasn’t replying to any of my letters. I heard (at that time), the complaints process was virtually non existent.
Fortunately my tenant was honest & good & sorted the claim out & pays etc. If she hadn’t, I’d have probably then spent dozens of dozens of man hours getting nowhere.

So last month, I had my second UC tenant (In Nottingham, it’s just single people with break in their claim or new claimants that have to go onto UC). Aaahhh, I asked some Landlord mates, what do I do? Mark Alexander duly replied saying give these a shout: http://www.caridonlandlordsolutions.co.uk

For those that know me, you’ll know that I’m an expert at Housing Benefit (HB). Along with Jonathan Clarke & Robert Mellors & Bill Irvine & a few others, I am very VERY experienced in Housing Benefit.
Over the past 20 years or so, I have learnt it inside out, got access to some top people inside the HB authorities.

Normally solve most problems, with an email & a phone call.

When mates come to me to help sort their HB problem, they think I’m a magician, what they cannot do, is easy to me. I know the process. So if someone like me, is using Sherrelle at Cardion, that has got to be good recommendation for you less than experienced HB landlords. Sherrelle is my UC magician!

As Bill Irvine will tell u, this UC is NOTHING like HB. It’s like dealing with a load of 15 year old robots from another planet that has been sent here to give as much money as possible to tenants to spend on wasteful things, & at all costs my dear little robots, do not pay the landlord, let’s make his life torturous, so he will never want a UC tenant again.

My mate says to me, but why are you paying, what are you getting for your money? Good question.
I wasn’t getting ANY rent in, could have took me months & maybe 40 hours. How much is your 40 hours worth?

If it takes you longer, you could end up working for 50p an hour, or even no pay if you don’t solve the claim.

Even if we was paying admin staff, I know we’d have paid out much more in man hours than Caridon charge for their expertise. Sherrelle has instant contacts in one phone call. People that will listen to her. It’s took me years to get these contacts in Housing Benefit, I don’t want to spend another 20 years getting high up contacts in UC.

With Caridon, your headache is gone. Yes it does cost, but it costs more to pay your mortgage with no rent in.

When my claim was done, UC still cocked up, I let Sherrelle know & she sorted it within 24 hours.

I want to help struggling UC Landlords not get walked all over by UC, by recommending Sherrelle at Caridon.

Editors Note:

For further information and how Sherrelle and Caridon can help please see the articles below.

Universal Credit and Benefit Cap Training

Universal Credit Advice For Landlords



Comments

Paul Cunningham

10:31 AM, 13th February 2017
About 2 years ago

I am the Chair of the Eastern Landlord Association, with some 1400 members. Universal credit was introduced in Gt Yarmouth last April and has been disastrous. ELA landlords are refusing to take any such claimant, the council arrears have risen by £86k and the number of homeless has increased across the borough. The use of the local food bank has increased by 33%.
The local MP, Brandon Lewis, refuses to meet with either the public or ELA members to discuss. Current waiting times are 10-12 weeks and as the article states, DWP will not speak with landlords. I now serve a Section 21 Notice on any tenant who is switched from HB to UC.
Scotland has recognised the problem and now pay fortnightly and will pay landlords direct at the tenants request.
This is a huge threat to landlords and undoubtedly those with small portfolios will not survive.
DWP refuse to accept there is a problem and until they do this situation will continue.

Robert Mellors

13:55 PM, 13th February 2017
About 2 years ago

That is a great recommendation Mick, thank you for sharing it with us all. I have looked at Carridon's website and the service they offer does sound good, but getting a personal recommendation based on actual experience of them makes it so much more credible.

Fortunately my single tenants are in supported housing so are exempt from having to claim UC altogether, or if they are already on UC when they move in, then the housing costs are still dealt with by the Housing Benefit Dept (so long as it is spelt out to them that this should be the case because of the supported accommodation exemption). However, as and when UC is rolled out to other tenants (families), then I envisage far more complications and I will certainly consider using Carridon to assist in such cases.

Robert Mellors

14:00 PM, 13th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Dealing with UC is a nightmare, as you say Mick, they ignore any contact from landlords, and won't accept any information or documentation sent to them by email (even ignoring the UC47 non-secure forms sent to them, i.e. the forms designed for landlords to send electronically requesting an "alternative payment arrangement").

Mick Roberts

14:46 PM, 13th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Brilliant figures Paul. Nice & simple to digest. Shame the Govt don't get it.

Yes Rob, I got confused on the UC47 forms, fill one in, can email it, but not post that one? Eh?
The other one, can't email, can post?
Gees, just give me one arrears form please.

Colin McNulty

9:04 AM, 20th February 2017
About 2 years ago

I too am struggling with UC. It's rolled out fully in my local council now so all new claims are UC.

So far I've been with my tenants to 5 Universal Credit meetings at the Job Centre, to try to make sure it goes through smoothly, but it's an up hill struggle at every turn.

I have finally got some traction on a UC47 Managed Payment / Rent Arrears application. I emailed off the correct form, and posted the appropriate corroboratory evidence, then heard nothing for over 2 months. All my chasing emails (a modest 1 every 2 weeks) were ignored and unanswered. Finally I've had an email from someone saying they've setup direct payment, but apparently they've been paying the tenant direct in the mean time, despite me asking them to suspend payment of the housing element until the UC47 was processed.

The local Housing Solutions team are having no joy either, they've told me: "Information only ever flows 1 way, into the UC black hole." They put in a Managed Payment application on my behalf at the beginning of Jan for another tenant, using the secure email version of the UC47, but they also have heard nothing, and the tenant was paid direct 10 days ago irrespective. Fortunately I caught him on the day of payment and we went to the bank together to get it transferred.

I now have a another tenant going through it, he went "on the sick" but rather than be put on ESA, he had to do a UC claim and he's NOT happy about it. Me either; I told him last year to do everything he could to stay off UC. He's seriously told me he'd be better off going back to prison than having to jump through the UC hoops!

Since UC started affecting my tenants just 4 months ago, the tenants affected have run up about £3,000 in new rent arrears, all down to UC! One I've evicted already, because his attitude was: "UC is your problem, not mine."

Colin McNulty recently posted...It is Impossible to Live Without Failing

Sharon

20:01 PM, 8th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Colin McNulty" at "20/02/2017 - 09:04":

Hi, as my profile says, I am a Team Leader processing Universal Credit claims at Canterbury Service centre. I can't enter into discussions about named tenants (I'd be sacked!) but am able to give advice on 'scenarios' (if you get my drift). I am no expert but my team are! Although based in Kent we deal with other areas of the country at present. Please get in touch if I can help in any way, I really feel for you

Colin McNulty

9:53 AM, 9th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Sharon, you're a very welcome here. 🙂 And well done on your plans to become a landlady.

From your profile, what's the difference between "Universal Credit Full Service (as distinct from ‘live’ service)"?

What applications do your team process? Is it the initial setup, or do you get involved in Alternative Payment Arrangements too?

Thanks, Colin

Robert Mellors

21:17 PM, 9th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "SHARON MOXON" at "08/03/2017 - 20:01":

Hi Sharon

Welcome to the site, and I think you are very brave in putting yourself forward as someone who can advise on and help resolve some of the numerous problems that landlords are facing when dealing with UC.

Could you perhap advise us why we can email scanned documents to the DWP and have them accepted, e.g. signed authorisations, tenancy agreements, Third Party Payment requests, etc, and yet Universal Credit refuse to accept any of these? (If data protection was really the reason, then the other DWP departments would not be able to accept anything by email either, so data protection excuses are BS).

When I send UC47 forms to the UC "non-secure" email address, I never (not even once) get an acknowledgement or reply from a person. Is there a reason why UC refuse to liaise with landlords? (and again, data protection is not an excuse because I send a signed authorisation from the tenant).

Sharon

23:08 PM, 9th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi, I've been a member here for a year or 2 (aspiring to be a landlord) but was browsing last night as last time I looked there was very little on the site regarding Universal Credit (UC), which I found surprising.
I know the site does not permit direct contact between us and it is more than my job is worth to openly comment about specific cases but I can certainly help with general information and scenarios.
To explain, Team leaders are 'hands on' with our staff but they (called Case Managers, CM for short) are actually the experts so they have knowledge & some authority/autonomy, I have less knowledge/more authority & so on up the chain.
Leave your enquiries with me and I'll ask the relevant questions and come back to you regarding the forms, e mails etc, but the answer will actually be a version of 'those are the rules'! Also, DWP will rely on DPA as all internal communications are via a 'gsi' e mail address. Info permitted to be sent 'outside gsi' is extremely limited and unlikely to widen in the near future.
If you consider the Government's steer/wish/aspiration (you can choose) around UC, it is about claimants driving the claims & not DWP. Therefore, there is an expectation that the claimant will deal with everything and I honestly don't think UC planners anticipated the level of complexity of the housing journey to some claimants. It is an 'Agile' system that is not fully formed so there is every reason to believe that it will improve-change happens very rapidly.
The housing journey is actually under close scrutiny and I would encourage you (and others) to take the opportunity to comment on the UC & Benefit Cap Enquiries (time running out) being carried out by the Work & Pensions select Committee. Larger Social Landlords are already involved in giving evidence to the Public Accounts Committee UC reviews & make interesting reading if you can spare the time.
I don't know whether I'm allowed to post direct links but you will find these on http://www.parliament.uk
I guess I may be considered 'brave' but I consider that I have integrity and open-ness in my life, including at work. This is my 'view from the bridge' of how it really is, without divulging anything I'm not allowed to. DWP does run events for Landlords in every area where UC Full Service rolls out but the take up is low to non-existent. Our office does have the 'ear' of someone involved in this and also in the events, so I wonder if, for example, they are advertising events in the right places or holding them at convenient times-maybe you could let me know on that and I will gladly pass it on.

Sharon

23:16 PM, 9th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Colin McNulty" at "09/03/2017 - 09:53":

Hi Colin, UC was originally trialled as 2 versions, LIVE & DIGITAL. Live areas still exist but the full UC model is now for UC FULL SERVICE (UCFS) the amended name for Digital. The major distinction is that UCFS operates with the claimant driving everything. They apply online, wherever suits them, they log into the claim themselves, report changes online and have a 'journal' as a messaging service between themselves and either the Jobcentre or Service centre.

Case Managers (CM) are allocated new claims every day as they appear on the 'platform' (ie as soon as the claim is made) and they look after that claim from there onwards. Obviously, internal arrangements mean that the allocated Cm may change over time but there is always a CM allocated to each claimant. CM typically have a caseload of 200 claims upwards but there is no set amount at present.

CM are fully involved in APA for both Social & Private Landlords and are authorised to make decisions on these.
Hope that helps and also please see my reply to Robert Mellors

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