Tenants on Benefits – The Conservatives are making you homeless!

by Mick Roberts

14:53 PM, 3rd September 2020
About 3 months ago

Tenants on Benefits – The Conservatives are making you homeless!

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Tenants on Benefits – The Conservatives are making you homeless!

The biggest Housing Benefits Landlord in Nottingham here. So I know what is happening and I want to take you, but I can’t.

Another reason here why landlords won’t accept you.

The house that you want, the Universal Credit (UC) tenant has just left on the 6th September. UC operates a Benefit assessment period BAP, from one part of the month to the next.

The house that you want, for example, the tenant’s BAP was 17th to 16th and the tenant’s payment date was the 23rd. So the landlord got the rent on the 23rd (for the period 17 July to 16 August).

So you would think in all common sense, UC would pay the old Landlord up the 6th September, the date the tenant left. Oh no, UC and the government don’t have common sense. They stop ALL PAYMENTS to the landlord from the 22nd August. Even though they acknowledge tenant lived there from 23rd to the 6th of next month.

Guess what else, the new landlord gets the rent from the 23rd August onwards. Even IF TENANT WASN’T LIVING AT HIS HOUSE!

Shocking, the new greedy landlord gets taxpayers money for something he hasn’t provided. Meanwhile, the old Landlord is out of pocket, and now he thinks “I ain’t taking any more benefit tenants if this is how the UC Tory system treats me” so you UC tenants lose out.

You may wonder why UC operates in this bizarre way which eventually leads to you being homeless? It’s because their BAP Is nice and automatic, no manual human intervention is needed. The computer can decide who gets paid and who doesn’t and UC’s top man, director Neil Couling can’t see anything wrong with this. UC says it’s up to the old tenant to pay. I say No it’s not when Landlord is already being paid directly, UC is paying me then, not the tenant, stop passing the buck.

So UC tenants, you may wonder why you are really struggling to find accommodation. There you go. Please pass this story to your MP, Councillors, your case manager, work coach etc.

And you landlords please share and forward to people of authority too. Eventually, UC will see common sense, but not before thousands more UC tenants become homeless.


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Comments

Bill irvine

17:31 PM, 3rd September 2020
About 3 months ago

Hi Mick

You are referring to what DWP calls the “whole month rule”. As you know, UC is paid monthly, in arrears. Using your example, if someone made a claim for UC on 17th August their Benefit Assessment Period” (BAP) would cover the period 17th August to 16th September 2020. Payment for that period would follow 7 days later, around 23rd September.

DWP has incorporated this” whole-month” approach into the way it deals with the various changes in circumstances, which can occur, during the life-time of a claim. From its perspective, this enables automation, avoids the need for staff intervention, the need to, for example, to apportion rent liability increases, arising from the annual uprating of RSL rents or during a move to a larger and more expensive property.

It also means that where the change results in more UC being payable, the rule can produce a windfall, for the tenant, as the change is effectively backdated to the start of the tenant’s “benefit assessment period”. The good news is, this, in turn, should help landlords secure payment of rent, at least in that month!

To illustrate the point, let’s say Eleanor (26) & John (28) are joint tenants of one of your homes. They’re married, are claiming UC, as a couple, including an amount for housing costs. UC is paid on the 23rd of each month, in arrears, covering the benefit assessment period (BAP) 17th August to 16th September. Eleanor gives birth to a baby girl on the 15th of September. John immediately alerts the DWP by phone of the change. By reporting the change immediately, the couple can expect an additional £235.83 in their UC award, effective on 17th August i.e. the start of their “assessment period”. Under Housing Benefit rules, the change would kick in, the Monday following the birth. So, UC is clearly more generous than HB in this respect.

However, here’s the rub – where a change is to the disadvantage (less UC) of the tenant, it’s also effective from the start of the claimant’s “assessment period”. The retrospective nature of this rule could almost certainly mean that landlords will find it more difficult to collect rent from the affected tenant’s reduced Universal Credit award, where, for example, a partner/dependent child leaves the household; one of the partners starts full-time work, earnings rise during the month; all of these incidents will result in a much reduced award.

In the example you give, as the tenant vacated permanently on the 6th of September, the outgoing landlord’s rental charge is completely ignored. She’s treated as living at her new address for the whole of the BAP i.e. 17th August to 16th September. Her housing costs will be assessed at the new landlord’s rental charge for the whole of the BAP.

So, when you have a tenant claiming UC who wishes to give up their tenancy and is planning to give notice, try and factor in the BAP, by creating a departure date on the 17th of September or October etc. That way you can avoid the type of loss Mick’s referring to. But you’ll need the outgoing tenant’s cooperation for this to work.

Bill

Mick Roberts

7:20 AM, 4th September 2020
About 3 months ago

That's it Bill, as u say, we got to rely on the outgoing benefit tenants cooperation to pay all due bills, rent etc. But as all of us Benefit landlords know, the landlords rent is quite often the last thing on the outgoing benefit tenants mind. They don't need us any more, up yours Jack, I'm getting a few quid here courtesy of the UK taxpayer.
No problem son no problem (Cannonball run), The responsible Tory Govt and DWP UC will make sure last month's rent is paid to date, after all they are desperate for homes at moment and really want to make sure Landlord isn't done over. Oh, wait for it, UC are stopping the rent early? Even though they know the tenant was there for the period owed? All because it works better for UC's computer system?
Oh I see, it save UC some money in admin, but costs the Govt millions more in homeless in the long run. No joined up thinking.

Prakash Tanna

10:45 AM, 4th September 2020
About 3 months ago

I have always served notice and would ask the leaving tenant to co-operate and vacate on the 1st day of the BAP to ensure payment for the proceeding month is paid to you! Having experienced similar issues in the past i'm more inclined to have new future tenants on UC pay their rent 1 month in advance to avoid this sort of situation.

Robert Mellors

14:40 PM, 4th September 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Bill irvine at 03/09/2020 - 17:31
Tenants leave when they feel like it, they are not going to time it so that they leave on a particular day that corresponds to their BAP, and they certainly aren't going to do it in order to prevent the old landlord suffering a loss of rental income!

The same applies to any other changes that could affect the UC entitlement, e.g. they are not going to delay starting a job, or taking a pay rise, or more hours, or having a baby, etc, etc, etc, in order for it to coincide with the BAP. - Life just isn't like that.

This means that the old landlord in most instances is doomed to lose out on the UC Housing Element for part of the last month of the tenancy. - This is a structural failure of the UC system, it is not fit for purpose.

Robert Mellors

14:42 PM, 4th September 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Prakash Tanna at 04/09/2020 - 10:45
It does ultimately mean that more and more landlords will require rent in advance, deposits, and rent (and damage) guarantors, and if tenants cannot provide all of these, then they will indeed be facing homelessness as Mick says.

Clint

14:45 PM, 4th September 2020
About 3 months ago

We are in the age of artificial intelligence however, it is simple computation with absolutely no intelligence required for a computer to instantly work out which landlord has to be paid when the information is inputted to the computer.

If the rent was paid directly to the landlord, it would all be paid correctly to the right landlord with simplicity. We are on the verge of having autonomous cars and making one way trips to Mars, having 3D printers replicating themselves and more but with the whole of the Tory Government, a computer cannot work out the simple computation as to who to pay.

Are the Tory humans the robots that have the wrong intelligence?

Prakash Tanna

15:13 PM, 4th September 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 04/09/2020 - 14:42
I agree and as a Landlord with 99% tenants on HB or UC it is frustrating when at the end of their term, they think it's okay we don't get paid the rent or they leave the place in a mess full of rubbish ..... BUT, from my own past experience, that's no different to private tenants who have done exactly the same thing! For that reason, I personally don't treat tenants on benefits any different to those not on them.

Mick Roberts

16:08 PM, 4th September 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Prakash Tanna at 04/09/2020 - 10:45
Yes we'd all like UC to pay month in advance wouldn't we. We all know a lot haven't got the month in advance.

Mick Roberts

16:08 PM, 4th September 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 04/09/2020 - 14:40
Exactly that Rob, structural failure & not fit for purpose.

Mick Roberts

16:08 PM, 4th September 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Clint at 04/09/2020 - 14:45
Yes Clint simple isn't it. But DWP UC misses the most simple things.
UC has gone back to pre HB times, undone all the good work of HB over 23+ years.

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