Landlord Action response to Budget Universal Credit changes

by Paul Shamplina

11:46 AM, 23rd November 2017
About A year ago

Landlord Action response to Budget Universal Credit changes

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Landlord Action response to Budget Universal Credit changes

The Government appears to have bowed to the volume of criticism leveled at its flagship Universal Credit scheme and a realisation there is a range of fundamental issues which need to be urgently addressed. Mounting evidence pointed to the fact significant hardship was being experienced by claimants due to, amongst other things, having to wait up to 6 weeks before the first payment.

Changes announced yesterday by the Chancellor, included removing the 7 day waiting period, before eligibility commences; access to a full months’ advance (loan), instead of current 50%, payable within five days of applying; extending the repayment period for advances from six to 12 months, will undoubtedly help ease concerns. The Chancellor also announced that new housing benefit claimants could continue to receive it for an extra two weeks, while waiting for their universal credit payments to start. This news will be warmly welcomed by tenants and landlords alike and should help reduce rent arrears at the point of transfer to Universal Credit.

However, I do still have a number of concerns. The reduction in the waiting period by seven days doesn’t apply to the vast majority of claimants anyway, so this will only help the minority. Of greater issue is the increasing complexity of the scheme; staff assessing Universal Credit claims have not been properly trained, meaning mistakes are being made on an all too regular basis; and as the Full Service rollout expands, more complicated cases will arise, causing even more challenges for DWP staff. Some experienced commentators have suggested the changes, whilst welcomed, represent “sticking a plaster” to a fatally flawed system which requires re-engineering, rather than tinkering and have grave doubts concerning DWP’s ability and willingness to alter the direction of travel. Until the system has proved itself “fit for purpose”, landlords will remain cautious about renting to those in receipt of Universal Credit for fear of unsustainable levels of rent arrears.

Contact Landlord Action

Specialists in tenant eviction and debt collection. Regulated by The Law Society.


Comments

Mick Roberts

12:26 PM, 23rd November 2017
About A year ago

You telling me a sticking plaster.
It's all rammel.

Making someone wait more than 2 weeks is diabolical. Most people are claiming UC 'cause they have no money. JSA was bad enough having to wait for 2 weeks, why change some'at fot the worse that was already not great?

And these advance payments loads of codswallop. We know you skint & can't eat 'cause we taking too long to pay u, so we'll let u APPLY for a loan. You cun't make this up.

Someone ought to do a costing or Freedom of Information requests to the Councils to how much this UC is costing in people in Travelodges etc. up & down the country that the Govt are excluding from their figures.

It won't be fit for purpose, till they pay at 2 weeks, & give choice of direct payment to Landlord for the Housing element 'rent'.


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