by Mick Roberts
10:37 AM, 20th August 2020, About 10 months ago 12
Dear Shelter, (Please let me know who does & who doesn’t want this info about Universal Credit which is making tenants homeless)
Me again. I’m biggest HB / UC Landlord in Nottingham, so sometimes have an idea what’s going on.
I’m trying to help you here to get brownie points against the Toff Tories who have no compassion for why people are being made homeless & why Landlords aren’t taking benefit tenants any more.
Please use my experience and knowledge and you go get the glory and the limelight from it and hopefully get things changed.
Tenants are being made homeless, because UC DWP’s complaint process doesn’t work.
If Universal Credit are making a mistake and you aren’t being paid for a tenant and you know the solution is easy, UC DWP is set up so that you cannot report this easy mistake. So us Landlords and tenants have to start a complaint to try to get people higher up in the chain that can hopefully see common sense.
However, UC DWP’s complaint process is completely flawed.
The process is, you send to Complaints Stage 1, if they don’t reply within 15 working days you send to Stage 2, if they don’t reply within 15 days, you send to ICE Independent Case Examiner (who’s email address ends in DWP-So are they independent?).
ICE then should take on the case. However, the first couple of years with UC, ICE were saying, they need the last response letter from DWP or ICE can’t take on the case, UC DWP Stage 2 got wise to this (even admitting to me twice knowing ICE won’t take on if Stage 2 don’t reply), so just wasn’t bothering replying. So Consequently ICE won’t take the complaint on, rent carried on not coming in, tenant got evicted.
After more pressure from more Landlords, ICE started to ask Stage 2 to for the final response, so Stage 2 reluctantly wrote letter, albeit all factually incorrect, but at least ICE would now look. So for next year or so, when Stage 2 didn’t reply, ICE’s unofficial rule was to tell us Landlords to write to Stage 2 and give them another 8 weeks and if they don’t reply then, ICE will take the complaint on.
2 years later ICE would find DWP guilty on all accounts & just make them apologise so DWP rub their hands in glee and carry on screwing peoples lives up. No compensation, no changes going forward, nothing.
So some Landlords were now taking this to the PHSO Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman who should look into ICE and say ICE, you need to make DWP pay compensation for this loss, so DWP finally get their act together and make changes.
However, what’s happening now is, ICE are saying (Sent me letter) they will not take a UC DWP complaint on AT ALL until Stage 2 has replied. Stage 2 know this, so Stage 2 DWP NEVER reply. Great this is for them isn’t it, so why are the UK Taxpayers funding DWP UC complaints to the tune of £200,000+ a month? If they aren’t achieving anything and not replying?
So Stage 2 don’t reply. So ICE won’t take on.
So we go to PHSO I hear u say? Aah-Now PHSO are saying We can’t take this case on until you have the final response letter from ICE. Which ICE won’t do as they say they need final response letter from Stage 2. Which Stage 2 won’t do, becasue they know they will be found guilty, so they don’t reply at all and get off scot free. No justice for anyone. Tenant goes homeless.
And there we have it, Mr & Mrs British Public & Shelter, one massive main reason why there so many homeless and why Landlords won’t take on Benefit tenants any more. The solution is easy, but someone high up will not force these public bodies to change.
Can you see where this is going? You can never complain, because DWP just don’t reply in the first place. So you nor the tenant/claimant ever get justice. Consequently, the tenant loses their home. Homeless figures shoot up. All from this very bit at the beginning which DWP, ICE, PHSO won’t allow a solution,
So simply (cause I waffle on trying to get in all the detail):
PHSO saying ‘We can’t take on till ICE send u final letter’.
ICE saying ‘We can’t take on & send u final letter till Stage 2 DWP send us final letter’.
Stage 2 UC DWP saying ‘Ooh baby, we not gonna’ reply at all then & no one will ever come & prosecute us’.
This is happening to hundreds and thousands of Landlords in the UK & they are just giving up complaining frustrated by the complaints process & next time don’t take UC tenants. Shelter, are you listening?
This is affecting tenants massively, but they don’t shout as loud & put pen to paper like us Landlords do.
Part of the complaints process should be:
Someone must look if the offending party don’t reply. Otherwise Stage 2 can just offend for years. Once ICE is made to take the complaint on and once ICE forces DWP to pay compensation, the whole UK’s homeless situation will get better. Complaints will reduce saving taxpayer money and Landlords will take on benefit tenants again as the process will be better.
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