Can rent portion of Universal Credit be payable to landlord

by Readers Question

9:57 AM, 23rd March 2016
About 3 years ago

Can rent portion of Universal Credit be payable to landlord

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Can rent portion of Universal Credit be payable to landlord

I have been renting to Housing Benefit tenants (HB) and have always had the rent paid to me even after the regulations changed in 2008 so that the benefit had to be paid to the tenant. As those who rent to HB will know, it was possible for the HB to be paid directly to the Landlord if the tenant was found to be vulnerable or in most cases if they came from a council. Following the introduction of the regulation a good number of landlords had given up renting to HB tenants due to problems in rent being passed on to Landlords and tenants falling into arrears.direct payment

As the number of Landlords taking on HB tenants had become relatively scarce and it had become very difficult for tenants to find landlords that took HB, a further regulation was introduced as below:

The Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2010 includes a regulation where Housing Benefit may be paid directly to the landlord. This additional clause (iv) that has been added to Regulation 96(3A)(b) is detailed below:

(iv) the relevant authority considers that it will assist the claimant in securing or retaining a tenancy

Following the above clause, I have always been able to have HB tenants’ rents paid directly to me by including a clause in the tenancy agreement stating that it was a condition of the tenancy that the HB was paid directly to the landlord, and a letter to the HB department signed by the tenant pointing out the regulation and requesting the rent to be paid directly to the Landlord.

Universal Credit has now very recently been introduced to the council where I rent out properties and already the only two unconnected tenants on universal credit who are renting two different properties are in arrears.

I would like to know if anyone knows of any regulation similar to that I have quoted above which could be applied to Universal Credit so that rent is paid directly to the landlord (I am aware of the regulation where rent may be paid to the Landlord if requested if the tenant is more than two months in arrears).

Many thanks

Clint



Comments

Ravi gupta

14:21 PM, 23rd March 2016
About 3 years ago

Last time this happened to me, when a tenant was more than eight weeks in arrears, I had write to DWP, giving tenants full details ie NI number and date of birth and of course the address. It worked for me.
Good Luck

Clint

14:30 PM, 23rd March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ravi gupta" at "23/03/2016 - 14:21":

Thanks Ravi I do know that if the tenant is more than 8 weeks in arrears, the landlord can request for the rent to be paid to the Landlord. I was really looking for a situation where the Landlord could request the rent to be paid directly to him from the start of the tenancy without a build up of arrears. This was possible before Universal Credit came about as explained above. I don't want to be in the situation where there has to be a build up of arrears before the rent element is paid to me.

Mick Roberts

19:19 PM, 23rd March 2016
About 3 years ago

I'm gonna' comment on this, as I need to know answers too.

I've been renting to HB for 19 years or so. Very experienced at HB & LHA, learn't most things, got most top contacts in the HB departments, and now with Universal Credit, it seems as though I've got to learn all over again.

So please people of u that are experiencing Universal Credit.
I may have my first case happen this week-Cause she was ill & missed JSA signing on day-And computer is telling her reclaim is now Universal Credit.

What I do know so far is, that we can't get direct payment at the start.

We can't complain to the Ombudsman when things go wrong.
If they do pay us direct after arrears, as soon as arrears cleared up from tenants JSA etc., they pay tenant again.

Apparently 89% of Universal Credit tenants are in arrears.

And they have to miss a whole weeks payment-Yes no rent for us for that week.
And it takes about 8 weeks for first payment to tenant. All monthly of course-OOohh baby tenant gets £1500 in one go-Spain here we go.

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

11:12 AM, 24th March 2016
About 3 years ago

I have had my first working tenant lose her job and go onto universal credit. it took DWP 4 months to pay me direct....

she is aged 28 - so under the 35 year old rent-entitlement criteria she now only gets a shared room rate, so has a huge top up to pay which she cannot do without help from family ...

whoever said this government was about helping folks get back to work was ........

Mick Roberts

6:30 AM, 26th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "All BankersAreBarstewards Smith" at "24/03/2016 - 11:12":

Oh my daisies, 4 months! Not looking forward to it.

Yes this Govt han't got a clue about people below them.

Tony McVey

14:42 PM, 26th March 2016
About 3 years ago

The simple answer is, unfortunately, that there is no such
regulation as the whole purpose of UC is to give tenants
the responsibility to manage their own financial affairs.

Darlington Landlord

17:30 PM, 26th March 2016
About 3 years ago

For what its worth, Darlington rolled out UC for new single JSA claimants October 2015. DWP arranged a landlord seminar mainly covering the FAQ document here. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/491047/uc-rented-housing-faq-Jan16.pdf
I don't have any UC tenants so can't comment from experience but one faint ray of light is that they said the landlord or tenant can apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (eg to pay the landlord direct) to be considered at any time from the start of the claim - there would need to be good reasons for it such as the tenants vulnerability. If they refuse we were told there is no right of appeal. The FAQs also state that you should notify DWP if the tenant is one and then 2 months in arrears and they may consider measures including direct payment via an APA. There is an urgent landlords enquiries email address for example if the tenant is facing eviction uc.servicecentrehousing@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
Also we were told new UC claimants can request an advance of half their payment but will have to pay it back to DWP over 6 months.
Local Credit Unions have been suggested to help tenants ringfence the rent part of UC - they open a basic bank account and the union will make sure the rent is paid and not allow it to be withdrawn.


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