NRLA gets think tank’s backing for direct payments to landlords

NRLA gets think tank’s backing for direct payments to landlords

0:03 AM, 27th February 2024, About 2 months ago 7

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The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has echoed calls made by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) over direct benefit payments being made to a landlord.

The NRLA has been pushing for tenants to have more control over how their benefits are paid, such as allowing them to request that the housing element of their Universal Credit go directly to their landlords.

This would help tenants avoid rent arrears and eviction, the NRLA says, and give them more security and peace of mind.

Claimants should be offered alternative payment arrangements

Now the IPPR, a progressive think tank, has supported this idea in a new report on the social security system which suggests that all new Universal Credit claimants should be offered alternative payment arrangements (APAs), which include options to:

  • Pay housing costs straight to landlords (also known as managed payments)
  • Change the frequency of payments
  • Divide payments among different members of a household to help with budgeting.

The report argues that the current way of paying benefits can make it harder for people to manage their finances and increase their risk of debt.

It points out that in Scotland, where APAs are proactively offered and there are no eligibility criteria, more people choose them.

‘Alternative payment arrangements work for landlords’

The NRLA’s policy director, Chris Norris, said: “Alternative payment arrangements work for landlords and tenants; tenants have the reassurance that their rent will be paid directly from their Universal Credit, and landlords that their tenants will not fall into arrears.

“We are pleased our proposals on welfare and improvements to the benefits system are being backed by an independent think tank, which, like us, recognises the need for a system that is fair to both landlords and tenants.”

He added: “Ahead of the forthcoming election we will continue to lobby politicians to promote these simple, workable changes that will support those most in need.”

Commitment to the uprating of Local Housing Allowance

The NRLA and the IPPR are also campaigning for a long-term commitment to the uprating of Local Housing Allowance (LHA), which is the amount of housing benefit that private renters can claim.

The government has announced that the freeze on LHA rates will end this April and that they will be aligned with the 30th percentile of local rents.

This means that LHA will cover the rent of the cheapest 30% of homes in an area.

Promise that LHA rates will be reviewed

The NRLA wants the government and the opposition to promise that LHA rates will be reviewed every year and kept in line with market rents.

The IPPR warns that if LHA rates are frozen again, the situation for renters will worsen.

It recommends that the next government should legislate to link LHA to the 30th percentile of local rents and conduct a housing support review.

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Cider Drinker

9:00 AM, 27th February 2024, About 2 months ago

Sadly, the unfreezing of LHA does NOT mean that it will cover the cheapest 30% of properties in an area.

The rates are based on rents in September 2023 but only applied from April 2024. In my area, LHA rates have risen by less than 11% since April 2020 (and those rates are based on September 2019 rents).

Cider Drinker

9:14 AM, 27th February 2024, About 2 months ago

Where claimants make fraudulent claims, the LHA should not be recoverable from the landlord. It is this financial risk that prevents me from choosing LHA recipients as tenants.


10:17 AM, 27th February 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Cider Drinker at 27/02/2024 - 09:14
Agreed. That is exactly my position and the reason why I also do not take benefits claimants unless they pay me directly.

Markella Mikkelsen

10:46 AM, 27th February 2024, About 2 months ago

The default should be to pay the Housing element direct to the Landlord. This would significantly reduce evictions caused by rent arrears (as well as reduce all the burdensome bureacracy of applying for APA blah, blah, blah).

Fewer rent arrears -> fewer Section 8s -> less burden on the Court system.

Everyone is a winner!

Reluctant Landlord

10:47 AM, 27th February 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Beaver at 27/02/2024 - 10:17
....but then you have the potential issue of them not paying you at all....

I've had a look into the small print of the DWP clawback from LL's and there while there is the potential for this to happen, ultimately the claim itself is in the name of the tenant and they are responsible for telling the DWP any changes that could affect overpayments.

A LL ONLY has an obligation to also tell the DWP IF they are aware of anything that MAY effect amount of the contribution. As a claim is based on the claimants personal circumstances, how does the LL have any idea WHAT exactly changes might effect anything as they don't know the tenant circumstances to start with? If there has been no change in the actual AST or tenancy then there have been no changes that the LL could have known about.


18:24 PM, 27th February 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Reluctant Landlord at 27/02/2024 - 10:47
It's not just that: As a landlord the rent may be claimed back from you if it subsequently transpires that the tenant wasn't eligible for benefits, but as a landlord you don't have the powers to be able to check that they are eligible for them. So in effect, under the status quo you are being expected to police the situation but in reality you have no power to do it; social services are effectively dumping their problem on you unless you insist on direct payment. But then of course Markela is not wrong, if no fault evictions are banned and you can't get them out at all then you don't get paid anyway. So the bottom line is, if they fail the credit checks, don't take them.


19:29 PM, 27th February 2024, About 2 months ago

I think the rent portion of the benefit should be paid direct to the landlord and the rest of the benefit paid into the recipients bank account AND can only be drawn by direct debit or a debit card. This means the government can monitor what the claimant spends on - harsh I know but it is MY money

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