How can housing associations ensure rent payments amid DWP challenges?

How can housing associations ensure rent payments amid DWP challenges?

9:55 AM, 23rd April 2024, About 2 months ago 5

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Hi, I work for a housing association and last year managed to attach a managed payment to landlord (MPTL) for tenants self rent. Their majority of rent is paid by Housing benefit, but the tenants pay the remaining rent for ineligible charges, £7.49 per week at a time.

The DWP then decided that it was illegal to do so and therefore stopped the deductions. Numerous tenants are in rent arrears now.
The company tries not to evict unless really necessary. I’ve appealed to the DWP and have been promised a reply in 3 weeks.

I then plan to appeal to the independent case examiner (ICE) if they refuse to support the company.
If the government is owned money for CSA, court fines etc. it’s taken from the source, landlords are ignored and suffer enormous rent losses.

Does anyone know of any other way to get a tenants rent paid please? Been following company guidelines with warnings, and budget plans, but still not working.

Thanks,

Christopher


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Comments

TheMaluka

11:58 AM, 23rd April 2024, About 2 months ago

The government has taken away all viable means of collecting rent, the only way to assure rent payments is to reference tenants up to the hilt, add either rent guarantee insurance or a property owning guarantor, insist on rent in advance and keep your fingers crossed. Unfortunately this does not bode well for benefit tenants who are usually not able to provide a guarantor and never qualify for rent guarantee insurance.

Robert M

12:00 PM, 23rd April 2024, About 2 months ago

The ease of getting payments from a tenant's benefits will often depend of what benefit they are receiving, any other deductions, what the payment is for, and why you are requesting the payment.

The rules regarding "Third Party Deductions" aka "Third Party Payments" are different for those in receipt of Universal Credit as opposed to those who are receiving JSA or ESA.

It can be fairly straightforward getting the TPDs for rent and service charge arrears (for JSA/ESA claimants) if there are over 2 months arrears, but more complex if under 2 months of arrears (or if it is just the "ongoing" weekly service charge you are requesting payment of).

For Universal Credit claims, it can be much more difficult. Quite often, the initial application to Universal Credit is rejected, often due to UC staff not understanding the TPD availability or process, or prioritising other TPDs (contrary to the hierarchy of priority laid down in statute and guidance), so you may need to escalate your request to an area manager or other DWP staff member that does understand how to implement TPDs.

Bill irvine

12:54 PM, 23rd April 2024, About 2 months ago

Hi Christopher

There should be nothing to stop DWP paying you Third Party Deductions (TPDs) and from what you said, they were previously doing just that but have since stopped because they now claim that’s “illegal”. That’s simply incorrect.

The rules applying to TPDs permits deductions for both rent & service charge arrears. In fact, both are recognised as priority debts in the associated “pecking order”.

Bill

Chris A

16:10 PM, 23rd April 2024, About 2 months ago

I received an email this week from the ministry of DWP stating that the MPTL can be attached to tenants in social housing and I have forwarded it to the DWP in Wrexham.
If they don't comply, I'll ask the independent case examiner to get involved.

Bill irvine

17:09 PM, 23rd April 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris A at 23/04/2024 - 16:10
Hi Chris

A MPTL relates to the ongoing monthly housing costs, a quite separate issue to the TPDs you asked about, so I’m not so sure that helps.

Another tack would be to ask one of the affected tenants to request a TPD to help protect the tenancy. Once re-established you could use this in all other cases.

The Independent Case Examiner (ICE) has so far, not been sympathetic to landlord issues. The email is ice@dwp.gov.uk not exactly “independent” plus investigations can take 12-18 months for an outcome.

Bill

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