Live Universal Credit horror case study

by CARIDON LANDLORD SOLUTIONS

16:07 PM, 28th September 2017
About A year ago

Live Universal Credit horror case study

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Live Universal Credit horror case study

Today we have taken on the following case:

In March the landlord granted a Tenancy to a tenant who informed him she was on Universal Credit. Unsure of the new scheme and not swayed by the bad press the optimistic landlord decided to give it a go.

The landlord was informed by the tenant that he had completed his change in circumstances via his online journal and had an appointment at the Jobcentre to verify his Tenancy by providing his Tenancy Agreement. When he attended this appointment he informed the landlord.

The landlord was unconcerned whether he received direct payment and therefore never completed the UC47 which is the form that DWP requires landlords to complete if the tenant is in rent arrears of 8 weeks or more and to request direct payment if the tenant fits into a their group set out by DWP.

A few weeks had passed and the landlord had not received any payments from the tenant, but as he had heard of the delays in DWP processing Universal Credit payments he assumed that there was a delay in the claim being set up.

Two months on and the landlord has still had not received a payment so he contacted the tenant who then contacted DWP and was told that the landlord had received the payment. Baffled by this claim the landlord went on a mission and contacted his bank who confirmed no payment had been made to him.

The tenant booked an appointment at the Jobcentre to get to the bottom of the situation and to his horror he was informed that a huge error had been made and the payment had been paid to his previous landlord. His work coach had assured him that the matter would be dealt with and that the payment would be recovered from his previous landlord.

A month later the tenant received the Housing Cost payment and forwarded the payment to his landlord. However, the tenant has now incurred rent arrears and the DWP six months later have failed to recover the payment that was sent to the previous landlord.

The landlord has contacted us today and we have contacted DWP and await their response.

We will update you with the progress on this case.

If you have a case like this please feel free to contact us where a member of our experienced team will be happy to assist.

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

Robert Mellors

10:37 AM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

Universal Credit do not acknowledge receipt of the UC47 applications anyway, so we have no way of knowing if they are being dealt with or not. In some instances we have been submitting UC47 forms for the same tenant for over 6 months and have had no reply from Universal Credit for any of them. For some reason, Universal Credit (live service) just will not speak to or correspond with landlords, and they will not accept signed authorisations from tenants that we send in to them, nor will they accept proof of change of circumstances from us, e.g. copy tenancy agreements or letters signed by the tenant.

Robert Mellors

10:45 AM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

If any landlord is thinking of letting a property to someone in receipt of Universal Credit, they need to factor in the extremely long delays in processing of claims, UC errors, difficulties in dealing with UC to resolve any errors, the likelihood of the tenant being sanctioned (benefit stopped), the additional cost of using consultancy services such as Caridon to help sort out the mess, and the likelihood of the tenant receiving the UC housing costs element and spending it rather than paying the rent with it. - I'm not saying don't let to tenants on UC, but you do need to consider all of these issues and decide whether these are the problems and additional costs that you are willing to accept.

David Price

10:58 AM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

I have had three Universal Credit tenants, all have been problematical, all are well behind with their rent with little hope of ever catching up. Late payments direct to an individual who has had no income for perhaps two months, is it any wonder that bills are paid before the 'voluntary' rent? I will no longer house UC tenants; the system will have to be radically modified before I shall resume taking individuals on UC.

Robert Mellors

12:15 PM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 29/09/2017 - 10:58
Yes, I've had problems with every single one as well. I think I've probably had 6 of these in the past 12 months, and in every single case there have been problems. In most instances I am fortunately getting Housing Benefit for them (as it is supported housing) so the majority of the rent is paid direct to us by HB, but there is a small service charge which we claim as a direct payment from the DWP, but in the case of the UC claimants this has proved very problematic and out of the 6 cases so far, we have only got payments from UC in one case (and that took about 6 months to get into payment, with 5 separate UC47 applications).

CARIDON LANDLORD SOLUTIONS

13:21 PM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 29/09/2017 - 10:37
Dear Robert,
Has your tenant given consent for you to discuss the APA that you have put in place via there online journal?

CARIDON LANDLORD SOLUTIONS

13:22 PM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 29/09/2017 - 10:58
Dear David,
As your tenants are in rent arrears have you tried applying for third party deductions?

CARIDON LANDLORD SOLUTIONS

13:24 PM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 29/09/2017 - 12:15
Dear Robert,
The length of delays with the Universal Credit system is ridiculous and the department are aware of the delays in processing claims and hope to make changes.
Currently do you have any outstanding UC cases?

David Price

13:32 PM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Sherrelle Collman at 29/09/2017 - 13:22
Yes eventually I have third party deductions for all three of my UC tenants but they are still well in arrears (more than two months) and have all received a section 8 notice. Hell will freeze over before they pay the arrears.

David Price

13:35 PM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

Radio 4, The World at One, has a discussion on Universal credit and the problems (29 Sep 2017). Ended at about 13:30 but as I did not catch the start I do not know when it started.

Robert Mellors

13:39 PM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Sherrelle Collman at 29/09/2017 - 13:21
Tenants don't do this. I do have signed authorisations from the tenants (which are accepted by all other DWP offices, councils, etc), but UC won't accept these (nothing to do with the wording, they just won't accept signed authorisations). We have tried sending them by email (to the APA email address) and also by post.

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