The RLA Campaigns Team is pleased to report the Government listened to us on UC

by Property 118

8:19 AM, 24th November 2017
About 11 months ago

The RLA Campaigns Team is pleased to report the Government listened to us on UC

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The RLA Campaigns Team is pleased to report the Government listened to us on UC

In a letter to its members the RLA said:

“The RLA Campaigns Team is pleased to report that the Government has listened to us on Universal Credit – with Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke today confirming tenants who currently have housing benefit paid directly to their landlord, can continue this arrangement under Universal Credit.

The government has also scrapped the seven-day wait for claimants to apply for Universal Credit – a move which will help some tenants avoid getting into arrears and an issue the RLA had raised specifically with Mr Gauke.

This is a significant victory for us following long term campaigning, fighting for reforms to make the system fairer for both landlords and tenants and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you, and all our members, for your ongoing support for our campaigns work.

We have been battling for change on Universal Credit for years now – at times it has felt like banging our heads against a brick wall – so the significance of the Government’s decision to take some of our suggestions on board should not be underestimated.

Restoring confidence

The changes announced today may go some way to restoring the confidence of landlords in renting homes to those claiming benefits – and the comfort of knowing that those who have housing benefit direct payments in place will be allowed to continue with the arrangement under Universal Credit.

As part of our campaigns work we held high level talks with the Department for Work and Pensions on Universal Credit – meeting with Caroline Dinenage MP, the Minister responsible for housing cost support, to discuss rent arrears and direct payments. We also presented key research findings from our welfare survey showing landlords turning away from the benefits market.

We went on to present evidence to a Work and Pensions select committee on the flaws in the current rollout earlier this autumn.

The changes to the Universal Credit system are among a raft of welfare reforms backed by the association announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in his Budget yesterday.

Our campaign to have rent payments taken into account when calculating credit scores struck a chord with the Government – with the announcement it will invest £2million in developing technology that will allow this to happen.

As well as helping tenants who want to buy their own home, this will help landlords when it comes to referencing potential tenants – enabling them to rent with greater confidence knowing their tenants have a history of paying rent in full and on time.

We have also been thanked by homelessness charities Shelter and Crisis for supporting their campaigns to secure funding to help people access private rented housing, and increased local housing allowance support for tenants in the areas where market rents are least affordable.

The RLA will continue to campaign on Universal Credit. After years of our diligent lobbying the Government is now listening. We will not rest on our laurels. This is a success – but there is still more to do to make renting better for all.

Kind Regards,
Alan Ward
RLA Chairman”



Comments

SM

9:56 AM, 24th November 2017
About 11 months ago

As a Landlord and a member of the RLA I am delighted to hear that they have managed to achieve something as a result of the hard work they have put into their lobbying activities.

Having on several occasions written to my former MP to point out my concerns regarding numerous pieces of government legislation and the unwanted affects that they have on the PRS, only to be told by email that “it was fairer this way”. I was not even offered the opportunity to discuss my concerns in person. When this MP stood down at the recent general election I managed to get a personal meeting with my new MP.

Whilst this meeting has not managed to change government policy it lead to my MP hearing the landlords case. As a direct result she wrote to Mel Stride outlining my concerns and extending my offer to him to accompany me on a visit to my properties to see the standard that we offer and observe the quality of relationship that we enjoy, through hard work, with our tenants.

My MP also offered me some advice on how to get government policy changed. Basically all we as landlords need to do is to write to our MPs outlining our case and then ask for a personal meeting with our MP and ask them what they can do to help.

I asked how many Landlords had done this in the constituency that I live in and was horrified to hear that I was the only one. As my MP put it “without share of voice you’ll struggle to get any changes”.

I urge Landlords, the RLA and other landlord organisations to encourage and support their members to, contact their MPs to lobby for a fair system which recognises and supports the valuable contribution that we as Landlords provide.

If as a landlord you have never lobbied your MP before look to your professional body for support. The RLA offered to send someone along to accompany in the meeting. I actually declined this offer, but did visit them to collect up to date data that I could present to support the landlords case.

Paul Shears

10:19 AM, 24th November 2017
About 11 months ago

After years of our diligent lobbying the Government is now listening.
“it will invest £2million in developing technology”
This is ridiculous!
1. Landlords are in a far worse position now than they were five years ago with worse planned to come. Furthermore the recent budget has made matters even worse still Re: Council tax liabilities.
2. Given the track record of complete and utter incompetence by government agencies to successfully invest in I.T., this is like giving money to an alcoholic and expecting him to book himself into rehab.
My own MP has automated dismissive responses that take weeks to arrive.

John Frith

1:27 AM, 25th November 2017
About 11 months ago

"Our campaign to have rent payments taken into account when calculating credit scores struck a chord with the Government – with the announcement it will invest £2million in developing technology that will allow this to happen."

I'm struggling to understand what this means. Surely unless the credit referencing agencies take this up, nothing will change. And the amount sounds like tokenism, anyway.

I'm only aware of one scheme currently, and that's one that the tenant opts into:
https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/mortgages/rental-exchange-scheme
And being voluntary, I wonder if the tenant can decide to leave if they anticipate going into arrears.

I've said before that one way forward would be if for deposit schemes to routinely report deposit deductions to the credit reference agencies. This would have the advantage of encouraging renters to settle their account outside the scheme. Eg not withholding their last months rent.

David Price

13:01 PM, 25th November 2017
About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by John Frith at 25/11/2017 - 01:27
An excellent and simple idea to involve the deposit schemes, simple and cheap to implement. I have one small reservation, I like many landlords no longer take deposits because the penalty for administrative errors is draconian.


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