House of Commons Debate on Universal Credit

House of Commons Debate on Universal Credit

11:44 AM, 3rd July 2017, About 6 years ago 5

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On Tuesday 27th June 2017 there was a debate in the House of Commons on Universal Credit, Damian Hinds Minister for Employment informed the audience that DWP recognised the concerns raised and are working to resolve them.

To date over a million people have made a Universal Credit Claim with £530,000 currently on the new benefit, more people are now on Universal Credit than on JSA.

Under the full service 99% of claims are made online DWP have conducted a survey on those on the scheme, apparently 82% of claimants have said they are satisfied with the new system.

Landlords were a key topic in the debate and it appears that DWP are aware of the issues faced with Housing, because of this they have introduced a Housing Confidence Scheme whereby work coaches now speak with claimants about Housing and look at their budgeting and any difficulties that they may face making it easier to facilitate direct payments to Landlords.

The UC 47 has been redesigned with improvements making it easier for the landlord to complete and apply for direct payments and receive payments faster.

Currently, DWP are working on ways to make it easier for Landlords to find out the status of APA’s and will announce the details in the near future.

You can watch the debate by following the below link:

Alternatively you can follow the below link to read the transcript:

After watching the debate are you confident in the proposed changes and would you house someone on Universal Credit?

Contact Sherrelle for offline Universal Credit advice

Sherrelle is an independent consultant and is recommended by Property118 for landlords who require professional advice and assistance in regards to dealing with Universal credit related matters

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Paul Cunningham

17:23 PM, 4th July 2017, About 6 years ago

I am the Chair of the Eastern Landlord Association(ELA) this debate came about as a direct result of ELA members lobbying their local MP who has listened and taken action by arranging the discussion. This shows the power of landlords collectively lobbying their MP over this issue. Lowestoft adjoins Gt Yarmouth albeit they have different local authorities. UC was introduced in Gt Yarmouth in April 2016 and has proved to be disastrous with rising numbers of homeless and the doubling of the use of food banks., As a result local landlords are reluctant to accommodate such tenants, the waiting period from the time of claiming is 6-12 weeks and landlords with smaller portfolios will undoubtedly suffer.
The councils arrears are now in excess of £200k. Until UC is running efficiently and landlords are paid directly in a timely manner I fear the problem will only worsen.

Jonathan Clarke

14:16 PM, 5th July 2017, About 6 years ago

Putting frozen LHA rates to one side - which makes in any case LHA / UC year on year more and more uncompetitive - I keep my existing LHA tenants because all my rents come direct to me and the system though not perfect by any stretch is just about manageable and works for me .

There is nothing in UC which attracts me. Everything I have seen and read appears to deliberately frustrate the process for both tenants and landlords . If I was designing a system not to work that is how I would have designed it.

Any tinkering is now too little to late. The damage has been done . We should have welcomed it if it was a good system. But we are collectively repelled by it .

All these issues were known before but IDS willingly and purposefully ignored them. The UC system is not fit for purpose . I would have to receive a personal approach and personal guarantees now to consider taking on a UC tenant when it starts in my area.

The evidence is overwhelming that UC being paid to tenants does not get passed on.
In Australia I gather it is a criminal offence not to pay ones rent.

My tenants know they are vulnerable and plead to have it paid to me as they cannot cope with the responsibility.

Yes one could argue they should be encouraged to be able to cope to prepare them for the workplace

But by chucking them in the deep end and expecting them to swim without any form of tuition, support or effective monitoring is cruel in the extreme. The government has set them up to fail

It will get worse and drastic sweetners will have to be made to reverse the ill feeling. . Either that or master plan is in fact for UC and the PRS not to co exist. That is the plan maybe and let the institutional investors take over so we are not a thorn in the governments side. As much as UC is a cumbersome animal to manage so must we be in the PRS sector. We have now grown exponentially over the last 20 years to be perhaps too influential in determining housing policy and largely unregulated .

Something will have to give. But I fear the mess and the mop up will take 5 years to sort out. I`m afraid I cannot wait that long

Old Mrs Landlord

15:17 PM, 5th July 2017, About 6 years ago

What institutional investor is going to house tenants on UC? They are all aiming for the top end of the market to generate fat profits for their shareholders. And you're not seriously suggesting the PRS is "largely unregulated"? All except Shelter and Generation Rent seem to think it's already over-regulated. Landlords are leaving the sector because of the burden of regulation they have to comply with coupled with the tax changes which together mean for them "the game isn't worth the candle".

Jonathan Clarke

19:06 PM, 5th July 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Old Mrs Landlord" at "05/07/2017 - 15:17":

It will be a different breed of Institutional investors with service level agreements who may JV with councils with guarantees built in to make it an attractive business opportunity. Arms length council housing in effect. G4S takes over PRS maybe. Contracts tendered and awarded to those companies who offer best value

And yes some regulation is there but it is piecemeal and not managed or enforced effectively so there is a great deal of non compliance and this in practice means it is a largely unregulated industry. Any one can set themselves up as a landlord tomorrow and control hundreds of peoples lives without any exam / interview / certificate of competence / service standards etc.

I agree many are leaving and many wont join but its the tax burden more for me that drives that. The regulation is trying to play catch up ever since PRS took off in 1996.
But who realistically enforces it is the question

Old Mrs Landlord

20:50 PM, 5th July 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jonathan Clarke" at "05/07/2017 - 19:06":

The institutional investment scenario you envisage in your first paragraph is not a bad idea and, provided they receive subsidies and are not subject to S.24 like individual landlords, could actually be made to work profitably as long as there's no element of the public/private initiative tie-ins which are bleeding schools and hospitals dry. I have yet to hear this idea floated by anyone in political power though.
If your argument regarding regulation is lack of enforcement, I am bound to agree. In many cases this is because local authorities' funds have been cut to the bone, with the result that they resort to superfluous licensing schemes whose main purpose seems to be raising revenue from compliant, law-abiding landlords.

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