Landlords unable to identify payments for UC tenants due to changes in DWP system

by CARIDON LANDLORD SOLUTIONS

10:34 AM, 9th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Landlords unable to identify payments for UC tenants due to changes in DWP system

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Landlords unable to identify payments for UC tenants due to changes in DWP system

Caridon Landlord Solutions is calling on The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to urgently address the changes to its payment system, which have left landlords unable to identify which housing cost payments of Universal Credit should be allocated to which tenants.

According to Caridon Landlord Solutions, up until three weeks ago payments of the housing element of Universal Credit made directly to landlords included a unique reference.  This was the reference provided by the landlord when they completed the UC47 to request managed payment because their tenant was unable to manage their finances or had fallen into arrears.

However, since mid-December, payments have been coming through with a random 28 number reference with no explanation or payment schedule to enable landlords to identify who they are for. Sherrelle Collman, Managing Director of Caridon Landlord Solutions, which specialises in helping landlords with tenants in receipt of Universal Credit, says she has been inundated with phone calls from landlords asking how to interpret the new number reference.

“We were told last week that there had been an upgrade to DWP’s system which has caused the change, but we have been unable to get any further information on how we can allocate payments or what is being done to rectify the problem.  We called Universal Credit Full-Service line but they are unable to help without a National Insurance number, date of birth and/or address.  Then we called the Third-Party deduction line, and they are unable to help unless the tenant is in arrears and now has third party deductions set up. Some landlords have numerous payments for the same amount but for different tenants, making it impossible to identify who the payment is for,” says Sherrelle.

Caridon Landlord Solutions says if the matter is not resolved soon, many tenants could be accused of falling into rent arrears through no fault of their own because landlords will be unable to update the tenant’s rent account.

One landlord who contacted Caridon Landlord Solutions was already in the process of evicting his tenant for rent arrears but has to provide the court with an up to date rent statement.  He is unable to do so as he is cannot identify whether any further rent payments have been made and is concerned what impact this will have on his eviction proceedings.

Caridon Landlord Solutions is pursuing the matter with DWP as a matter of urgency.

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


Comments

WP

11:04 AM, 9th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Yes an absolute nightmare! No warning of this, causing mayhem when I am trying to align payments as some are the same figures. Another 'wonderful idea' from DWP 🙁

Mick Roberts

12:14 PM, 9th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Ooh don't get me started on this.

Under the old Live service, I WAS getting references.
When we switched to Full service Jan 2018, I was then getting paid in the bank with tenants National Insurance numbers which is apparently against DWP rules/regs. I have since reported this to ICO, who I hope will fine 'em a million quid.

I then have to start taking tenants National Insurance numbers on holiday in me phone. To which upon my meeting with 4 UC bigwigs in April 2019, they was horrified I was walking round with tenants NI numbers in me phone. I said Do something about it, pay me with a references like EVERY SINGLE other person HAS TO in the UK, the bank insists on it. How do I know who's paying me & who isn't?

You say up until 3 weeks ago. I haven't been getting any for 24 months. About 3 weeks ago cause of my complaints to DWP UC NeilPillockCouling etc., I am now starting to get some references. All wrong like, but at least someone human somewhere in DWP is pressing a few buttons with a blindfold on. Why don't they just pick up the phone & talk to me?
Tier 2 Complaints are after 23 months ACTUALLY ringing me & they too are gobsmacked I'm being paid without a reference. It's only cause they now ring me & I send em the bank statement there & then, that they say Oh I see. 23 months to get to that. They are proper THICK!

I'm expecting 7 rents in the bank same day. I get 6 in. I don't know who hasn't paid as no reference numbers. I have to evict all 7 tenants.

I'm also getting long reference numbers, not got a clue who the payment is for.

This is what DWP direct deductions say when I ask them to notify me by email who is being paid what, just as HB has been doing it simply & lovely for 20 years, their EXACT WORDS:

Option 1 – EDI Transfer Your File

Transfer Your File is a secure, online file repository system which allows users to log in, access a folder where their file is kept, and download the file at any time. Files will be available for up to 30 days after the schedule has been created. Transfer your file will initially be available only to Local Authorities.

No testing is performed as you will already have an established connection for Housing Benefit data. LA’s going ‘electronic’ will need to ensure they have liaised with their current Transfer Your File users and arrange who will download the TPP schedule files and place them with the appropriate team within the LA every 4 weeks.

See Appendix 1, 1a & 1b for further details.

Option 2 – EDI PGP Secure Email This is available for Creditors/Suppliers (excluding Local authorities).
DWP will require your organisation’s secure email address for receipt of Secure Email (S/MIME) and a copy of your public key from your server which needs to be sent securely and will be used to encrypt the electronic transaction.
Estimated set up time scales are around one month.
See Appendix 2 & 2a for further details.

Option 3 – EDI Generic File Transfer Service This is available for Creditors/Suppliers (excluding Local authorities).
Your FTPS file transfer system needs to comply with the GFTS Code of Connection (GFTS CoCo). Please review the GFTS CoCo as it explains the things you will need to agree to in order to set up a secure file transfer route.
DWP will need: Username, Password, Server IP address, Server Public Certificate bound to the user, FTPS Control Port Number (for connection setup and firewall), recommended port is 21, FTPS dynamic data port range (for firewall), recommended port range are 8050-8249. Folder path where file will be sent to
Estimated set up time scales are around two - three months.
See Appendix 3 & 3a for further details.

Luke P

20:02 PM, 10th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Sherrelle, do you know if there are regional processing centres for UC? We always get schedules and whilst they used to just include the NI No, they now include both the NI No. *and* the claimant’s name. This is across dozens and dozens of properties.

CARIDON LANDLORD SOLUTIONS

22:34 PM, 10th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 10/01/2020 - 20:02
Dear Luke,

Have you tried to contact your Local Partnership manager?

I will post a list of all the regional service centres shorty.

David Price

1:47 AM, 11th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 09/01/2020 - 12:14
Mick, perhaps the first step would be to get DWP direct deductions to explain all the acronyms, then go get yourself a degree in IT just so that you can understand how to set up the system.
I hope the ICO does not fine them a million quid - that is far too lenient.

Mick Roberts

5:54 AM, 11th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Luke,

We have a Nottingham UC Service Centre just for Nottingham people I believe.
When a tenant rings, their phone system recognises their number (If DWP has tenants latest number) & gets them through quicker to their centre & their Case Manager.
When Landlord rings, their system don't recognise number & thinks Oooh Landlord, screw him/her & that is why we queue an hour.

I've been getting tenants name & NI number on the schedule letter about a week after being paid. If I get the letter at all.
So the centres differ then, as I've been getting them like this for 3 years +.

Sherrelle, the area manager who Bill says some people get success with, the East Midlands one, she doesn't reply at all. Northampton do as I've contacted them accidentally.

David, yes. When I heard this dept. was external of DWP, I thought Yes I might get somewhere. I was shocked that they even more unintelligent.

Luke P

9:25 AM, 11th January 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by CARIDON LANDLORD SOLUTIONS at 10/01/2020 - 22:34
Hi Sherrelle, we have a direct contact to someone fairly senior, although she has now, very recently, been shuffled out. All problems were previously dealt with, immediately, by her (but I believe that was purely owing to the volume of UC we have). Normally I’m pulling my hair out with institutions such as Councils and the DWP, but this hasn’t, thus far, been an issue, which is very surprising.

Darlington Landlord

19:53 PM, 21st February 2020
About a month ago

I had my first tenant on UC recently, was asked for a reference to use. When the payment came through they have included the tenants NI no. plus a long random number but not my supplied reference.

Old Mrs Landlord

23:20 PM, 21st February 2020
About a month ago

The RLA have this week issued a link to the Universal Credit Guide for Landlords on gov.uk and the RLA website has a UC Guide for Landlords video. At around 3 mins. 55 this states that if you get direct payment it will be paid into your bank account and you will be told who it is for. However, it does not specifically say each individual payment will be identified so if you have a number due on the same day and/or for identical amounts it won't be much help if they just send a list without matching each payment to a name as seems to have been Mick Roberts's experience. Landlords are directed to Section 8 of the Guide for Landlords on gov.uk. We haven't any tenants on UC so no experience of this, but it is stated to be new guidance so just thought it might be worth a look if you have UC tenants.

Mick Roberts

7:39 AM, 22nd February 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 11/01/2020 - 09:25
Luke Yes,

I had a direct contact too who was getting really good & she too has just been shuffled out. And u have to start again.
Only this week, I have a solicitor asking how a new landlord buyer of a house gets the existing tenant UC direct payment to him that was already being paid to old Landlord. UC says tenant does it on journal. I said And if tenant doesn't?
And rent increases we have to report, but UC don't tell us how we report.
So my local Job centre Manager is going above her usual contact & said We have very good point, there is no one for Landlord to quickly email. I've said HB knows Landlord can solve things. As Jonathon Clarke says, As soon as UC start excluding me the Landlord, I'm out of here, I don't want to be part of that process any more.

If they gave us Landlords email contacts & got back to us within 3 days, they'd save millions in time & wasted money & complaints.

Old Mrs, It's amazing how these publications from the top issue something & it be totally wrong. I had Neil Couling, head director of UC PUBLICLY on Twitter post to me saying Mick Roberts Go on the Landlords Portal. To which I had to tell him WE HAN'T GOT A RUDDY PORTAL. Only the big registered social Landlords & Councils have got a Portal. Even the MP's on TV have said we have a Portal. And no one ruddy questions 'em.

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