End 5 week UC wait and pay housing element directly to landlords

End 5 week UC wait and pay housing element directly to landlords

9:17 AM, 6th October 2021, About 2 years ago 10

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Today the Government will go ahead with a planned cut to Universal Credit of £20 per week. The level of welfare support had been increased in light of the impact of the pandemic on household incomes.

With rent arrears at historically high levels, the NRLA’s view is that this cut will significantly worsen the levels of rent debt accrued by tenants across the private rented sector. According to official government figures, almost 1.5m renters across England and Wales could also stand to lose £1,000 as a direct result of today’s announcement.

According to the 2019/20 English Housing Survey, 14.4% of privately rented households in receipt of benefits were behind on rental payments. Over the course of the pandemic, the overall proportion of privately renting households in arrears tripled. Many more households will be forced into a perilous financial position due to the impact of the end of the furlough scheme and today’s cut.

Without urgent reform of the Universal Credit system, there is also a strong likelihood that tenants’ credit scores will be damaged. An outcome that will reduce their ability to access other housing in future.

Practical steps to combat the negative effects of this cut, such as ending the five-week wait for the first payment of Universal Credit, must also be prioritised by the Government to bolster landlord confidence in the welfare system.

Responding to today’s changes, Meera Chindooroy, Deputy Policy Director at the National Residential Landlords Association, said:

 “During the pandemic we have found that many renters have built high levels of arrears, which they will struggle to pay off in future. With this in mind, today’s cut to Universal Credit is a short-sighted move that will only serve to worsen this ongoing rent debt crisis.

“Most landlords have offered flexibility where tenants have faced the financial impact of the pandemic, but they cannot absorb these losses indefinitely.

“Practical steps to address this problem can and should be taken to ensure those tenants in receipt of benefits can cover their rents. It is our view that not only must the Government end the five-week wait for the first payment of Universal Credit, it should also ensure they can choose to have the housing element of their Universal Credit payments sent directly to their landlord.

“Besides addressing the consequences of this cut to Universal Credit, it is our belief that adopting this new approach will go a long way towards the creation of a fairer, more inclusive private rented sector which works in the interests of both landlords and tenants.”

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Jireh Homes

11:38 AM, 6th October 2021, About 2 years ago

Although Universal Credit is a UK wide system, in Scotland it is possible to arrange for payment of HB element direct to landlord.

Reluctant Landlord

13:08 PM, 6th October 2021, About 2 years ago

This whole post is meaningless. Unless there is a plan going forward to AUTOMATICALLY pay LL's the rent element, IRRESPECTIVE if the tenant requests this or not, it will not encourage new LL's to take on UC tenants NOR inspire existing LL's (who have no doubt had problems in the past where tenants get paid directly and do not pass on to LL's) to take on any other claimants.

A very simple, yet fundamental change like this will start to show to LL's that the government actually sees the big picture here! At present its all about leaving the poop in someone else's patch to deal with.

K Anon

22:49 PM, 6th October 2021, About 2 years ago

I have applied 11 times but the loop holes to avoid UC being paid directly are exasperating. Over 3 months arrears.

Mick Roberts

8:32 AM, 9th October 2021, About 2 years ago

Come on Ben Beadle, top man of NRLA,

These aren't the major issues. I'm biggest Benefit Landlord in Nottingham & I KNOW what needs to be done.
Let's have more voice contact.
We NEED email contact with DWP UC.
I'm trying to get a tenants direct arrears deductions stopped as they have paid their arrears. Tenant don't need to struggle any more than they already doing. I cannot get this extra bit stopped which is coming from tenants UC income.

There is no way for me to tell UC, Please stop paying me.
This is the biggest obstacle tenants face in getting houses, as if Landlord can't talk to UC, he don't put someone with no income in a 100k house without talking to the paymaster & knowing the paymaster is there if problems.

I've spoke to that many high up UC people & their answer all the time is The onus is on the tenant.
And there we have it tenants why u can't secure accommodation. The old Council HB system WORKED cause they communicated & the human beings KNEW if Landlord wasn't allowed to communicate, homeless ensued & the Council Homeless sister department would ring them up & say Look, we got major problems here & 10k bill unless u can get this Landlord paid. Job done.
However UC will not talk to anyone, not even HB or Council homeless.

I've had tenants whose ID been frauded by fraudster & fraduster claimed UC & got the tenants HB stopped. HB can't even talk to DWP UC to say Stop this, we have the genuine claimant in here now. Even HB pull their hair out.

Jonathan Clarke

23:31 PM, 13th October 2021, About 2 years ago

LHA was paid direct to me - No Problems
UC is paid direct to the tenant - Massive Problems
The HB tenant dynamic often struggles far more than the average person to manage their money . Their parents didn't teach them and the education system didn't teach them. So no virtual work coach is going to be able to suddenly change that ingrained mindset and I wont act as the guinea pig for the Gov while they grapple with that concept .
My very first transition from LHA to UC was a recovering alcoholic . They pleaded for me to be paid direct as they knew their own vulnerability . DWP refused and she ended up having her stomach pumped. That was just a taster for what was to come with the disastrous implementation of UC from my viewpoint
When I worked in a job HMRC took my tax directly out of my pay packet as it was more efficient and also they didn't trust me to pay it every month. I had no problem with that . I am a busy person. Society doesn't have a problem with that concept. It helps the world go around smoothly

Pay me direct and i will look at UC again
Don`t pay me direct and I wont
The HB regs in 2010 were amended precisely to allow it to be paid direct because of all the problems with HB not being passed on . That was a step in the right direction . We have gone backwards
The Gov is setting HB tenants to fail by paying them and not us
I see it every day . Its a disgrace

Mick Roberts

8:27 AM, 14th October 2021, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jonathan Clarke at 13/10/2021 - 23:31
And then Jonathan, cause no one has taught them, it's up to us the Landlord, to be the Policeman, Social Worker, Psychiatrist, Debt Counsellor, Social Worker, Mental Health worker, Bailiff.
I only had one yesterday, I said I've had enough, u need Mental Health worker, I am only a Landlord, I just want to be a Landlord, I'm getting older too. Is it a crime for me to just receive the rent & get your repairs done, I can't do your stuff too.

I only put this on this week in response to this NRLA post as the 5 week wait in't the biggest issue.


Yes JC, we had same problem with LHA in 2008 & cause we had human voice to voice contact, HB recognised it wasn't working & they changed tac. It baffles me how DWP UC don't learn from their counterparts. It was only 10 years ago. You're here, I'm here, the houses still here, the tenants still here, we know what's happening, we have experience, yet the MP's, DWP workers etc. get moved about & have no morals or understanding of the real homeless problems & Mental Health problems they cause to the tenants & us Landlords.

Jonathan Clarke

9:03 AM, 14th October 2021, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 14/10/2021 - 08:27Your totally right . I look at why sometimes and I can only think of two plausible theories ( there will be more reasons but I`m so blind with internal rage i probably don't see it lol )
1) PRS went from maybe 2% of the market to 20% in the last 20 years thanks to BTL mortgages becoming mainstream. We have too much power proportionally. You are the biggest HB LL in Nottingham so imagine you on a whim said enough is enough and sold up and served sec 21`s on all your tenants today along with say 5 mates who were well into HB as well and thought the same . You could between you ( I'm guessing ) have 500 sec 21`s landing on the councils desks in which they have to find accommodation for 500 families in the next 56 days under the Homelessness Reduction Act ) It would be a nightmare for them and they would go into meltdown . But rather than work with us they are trying to squeeze us out of the sector all together ( along with sec 24 ) and go back to council houses and the like before they were all sold off . Look at Fergus Wilson in Kent with his 800 units or so. He went a bit rogue and I can understand councils up and down the land saying we have to put a stop to the PRS growing strength. But we are saying work with us work with us but they dont ( see 2nd reason ) I like you have met with my chief housing exec to explain the problem . I have gone to the LL`s meeting. I said put me on a steering committee to see how we can resolve it together. They just shun the idea and do it themselves . They then come up with their Golden Hello schemes and the like and i can see the flaws in it straight away and shout why the hell dodnt you ask me before spending another 50K setting up a new task forces. They just dont listen
2) The staff turnover is so great as they are desperate employers and cant manage people effectively . The newbies get overwhelmed and are totally inexperienced . They just cant cope .I`ve lost count of the ones who i have to teach over the phone about Tier 1 and Tier 2 and what a breach of a tenancy is etc . They cant see that a herion addict is not going to declare that at the JC interview . But if they picked up a phone and asked me for a references I would tell them. Other people take references before they take someone on and pay them a £750 pcm wage ( rent in their case ) so why don't they . They just don't know what they don't know so they just crack giving money to a crack head who holds it together for 10 mins when interviewed . They keep on making mistakes left right and center over an over again then it all comes too much and they crack up and leave. We suffer the tenants suffer the taxpayer suffers . Its a closed mentality by them which says we got to be right so lets bunker down not speak to LL`s as we have the power and can cut off someone benefits at the click of a button . They simply give up caring
And grumpy old men like us becomes their worst nightmare . But we have tried being nice and it hasn't worked so we may well take our money and run and leave it to others to fight their own battles . Then when we are 80 years they will come back and ask us to sit on a newly formed random committee in the Lords about some Housing Reform Bill
And we were say - Sorry mate I`m busy 🙂

Mick Roberts

9:31 AM, 14th October 2021, About 2 years ago

I have had enough. I do wish to sell a lot of my properties & only a month ago met the MP & one subject was him approaching his contacts in the house buying department of the Council to buy 30 of my houses to start with. WITH tenants in & protecting their homes of 20+ years. However Nottingham Council has ran out of money from poor governance.

Me & many mates are selling when tenants leave. However in Nottingham , they just can't get anywhere. And if some of mine are paying £150 pm less than market rent elsewhere, they look at them more expensive rents & think No way I'm staying with Mick where I'm safe.

I keep saying this:
To a degree, let us do as we wish (law permitting), let us evict naughty non paying tenants very quick, then there will be plenty of Mick's & Monty that will say:

What, I can get rid of her in a month if she don't pay?
Ok yes, I'll take a chance on her, I'll house all them people that can't get a house, I'll buy some more houses.
Then tenants will have more choice & if Mick & Monty don't up his game & charge too high rent, tenant will say Screw u, I'm going up road to the Monty's house which is better condition & cheaper.
Then Mick & Monty have no tenants till they improve their houses. As then there will be more competition.
But as it is in Nottingham with all the Universal Credit daftness & Selective Licensing (Labour supported), Benefit tenants can't virtually move any more. No Landlord will take the risk with them.

These Stricter regulations has got rid of the competition that was thinking Why am I being punished when I've done nothing wrong?

I am now not only worried for my tenants any more, I'm really concerned for myself. I can't have all these houses round my neck when I'm 70 with all the new Anti-Landlord rules coming in & going to prison falling foul of a new rule. I want to sell a lot of them now, but the tenants just aren't going anywhere. The rules has made it impossible for them to move. I'm still earning as all my current tenants are good, but I want time, I want to slow down.

Ha ha yes, the Council just don't listen do they. They get everything wrong when it comes to renting houses & put a 22 year old in charge of ringing u who has no morals, compassion, common sense in the best solution to keep the person in their home.

U making me laugh, same here, lost counts of explaining to the new UC staff. I had it again last week with no less than a TOP TOP UC Nottingham Partnership manager. They asking for a tenancy which shows proof of rent. I say what does a 20 year old tenancy which shows £90pw tell u when current rent is £160pw? She says need new tenancy then. AAAAAhhhhhh u don't. U got to ruddy ask the Landlord for proof of rent, he's the only one that can tell u. Some notes below on what I've just learn't about this if anyone wants to use them in their next (rare) dialogue with UC. Don't hold me to this, but I think I jotted it down correctly:

When UC asks for new or recent tenancy with other people on or off or new latest rent increase on.
It's illegal to ask for a new tenancy. It's called an untidy tenancy. Even if woman was partner of man that was on it. Or rent gone up.
Untidy tenancy rules. Existing tenant is still liable for the rent.

Please ask your UC Nottingham Partnership manager XXXXX. She knows u DO NOT need nor ask for a tenancy to provide current rent proof

I've had this same conversation with UC complaints people higher up 3 years ago & they said they will pass the info to all Job Centres to stop asking for new tenancy for proof of latest rent & 3 years later, same mistakes still happening.

Great simple suggestion JC, ask us for the reference. I've had JC manager ring me & say Why did she say she wasn't in arrears when she was? Gees how many more time, they get some more free money to buy kids Xmas presents.

Jonathan Clarke

20:47 PM, 14th October 2021, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 14/10/2021 - 09:31``I do wish to sell a lot of my properties & only a month ago met the MP & one subject was him approaching his contacts in the house buying department of the Council to buy 30 of my houses to start with``
My council is buying up . I have sold them studios to 3 beds . But they will only buy vacant . The hypocrisy is astounding . I say will you buy with a tenant in situ so not to disrupt them and make them homeless . They say No we only want vacant ones so we can fill it with a homeless family !!!. I say let me get this straight you want me to evict a family and their kids and disrupt their whole lives and you put them in B&B and then the next day house another different family in it who is already in a B&B.
They wont answer that direct question but the answer is in effect Yes . Its a sick merry go round Its just to look good in their quotas. I say I wont do it it does not make sense and its a barbaric and a cruel policy .
So as a result - i only sell a property to them which comes vacant naturally or the ones who are happy to be evicted as their goal is to get a council house

Mick Roberts

16:05 PM, 15th October 2021, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jonathan Clarke at 14/10/2021 - 20:47
Yes daft in't it Jonathan, but then should we understand it that they want to house their current homeless? But on the other side, if they don't buy these soon, then they will have more homeless.
The Council have no forward sight as the staff sometimes only stay in that dept a year. They don't care what happens after that.

If they bought my houses now, they'd have some assets, a good yield, good tenants, it all makes sense. However they don't do common sense do they. And they'd have no Licensing fee to pay.

Ha ha yes they want us to evict, so they then have two lots. U going through exactly what I've discussed with them.

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