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

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

10:34 AM, 9th January 2020, About 2 years ago 11

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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

by Old Mrs Landlord

8:52 AM, 22nd February 2020, About 2 years ago

Everything Luke and Mick says makes me more and more determined to sell up rather than take on tenants on UC. If the Guide for Landlords I referred to gives only instructions on what to expect but offers no way for landlords to communicate with DWP then there is no way I would enter into such a one-sided relationship. Fingers crossed that by the time our only tenancy that relies on LHA gets rolled over to UC they will have got this sorted. If they have it will be because people like Luke, Mick and Sherrelle have had the tenacity to keep fighting and not just throw in the towel like most of us landlords who have only a few properties and live in parts of the country where the housing benefits are way below market rents. If you operate where the majority of renters are LHA or UC claimants you have my sympathy. The menacing tone of some of the communications to landlords revealed in the recent thread on here about the joint Shelter and Nationwide project to encourage landlords to rent to benefit tenants, more or less saying "You landlords need to get trained and we'll be down on you like a ton of bricks if you put a foot wrong as you try to navigate our incomprehensible system" or clawing back rents lawfully owed to you if your tenant fails to notify us (or you) of a change of circumstances, sets entirely the wrong tone. They are asking landlords to do them a favour and take on what they admit are problem tenants for less money than they could get with hassle-free tenants who work for a living and pay their way in society. Does Tesco threaten me when they want me to buy their essential goods? Rather they offer inducements and make it as easy as possible with free parking and money-off coupons etc. If the government want to see fewer homeless people they should start treating those who provide the necessary housing less like naughty boys in need of training and correction and more like customers, starting with openning up channels of communication and adopting a more conciliatory tone of address.


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