9:38 AM, 3rd October 2017, About 5 years ago 14
The DWP guidance states:
8. Support and Alternative Payment Arrangements
8.1 Alternative Payment Arrangements and managing rent arrears
If a tenant gets into difficulty paying their rent, the landlord can apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) Managed Payment to Landlord (MPTL) which will be considered on a case by case basis.
8.2 Tenant in rent arrears
Information from third parties such as family members, support workers and the claimant’s landlord, can be considered when assessing a claimant’s ability to manage their finances.
Personal Budgeting Support and/or an Alternative Payment Arrangement may be deemed appropriate, for those claimants who are not yet in arrears with their rent but who may benefit from advice around managing their Universal Credit award or money management.
DWP can refer the claimant to Personal Budgeting Support and/or consider an Alternative Payment Arrangement.
Personal Budgeting Support and Alternative Payment Arrangements Guidance follows up by stating on Pg. 5 When can an Alternative Payment Arrangement be considered?
They may be identified at the outset by the Job Centre Plus work coach Interview alongside Personal Budgeting Support, or during the claim e.g. because the claimant is struggling with the single monthly payment.
They can be triggered by information received from the claimant , their representative, their caseworker or their landlord, advising of a build-up of arrears. To safeguard the claimants home, a landlord can notify Universal Credit of a build-up of rent arrears and ask for the Universal Credit housing element to be paid direct to them where a rent arrears trigger has been reached.
Reading the Government guidelines makes the process seem so simple, you have a tenant they fall into rent arrears you apply for a managed payment and third party deductions so that you can recover against some of the arrears by completing a UC47 and submit the documents by post or via email using the non-secure email address.
A week goes past and you call DWP to see how they getting on with the APA request that you have made, your either told that they cannot speak with you as you have no explicit consent to discuss the request, or they cannot find the APA request.
You explain to the call handler that your tenant is in rent arrears and owes you money and are told that the tenant has refused for the APA request to be paid direct to you therefore the APA has been rejected.
This exact situation is a daily occurrence, many landlords believe that if there tenant is in rent arrears there APA request is guaranteed, this is in fact not true, the tenant can reject the APA request which blocks any payment made to the landlord.
Many of you must be thinking but how does this happen, if DWP have a section on rent arrears in there guidelines.
Under full service when a landlord submits a request for direct payments the claimants case manager notifies the claimant via their online journal, the tenant can then message back the case manager and advise them whether or not to pay the landlord.
DWP have to follow the direction of the tenant as they are the claimant and it is their claim therefore the tenant is in control, its apparent that DWP are more worried about breaching the tenants rights as oppose to preventing the misuse of payments and protecting the public purse.
I am sure that there are loads of landlords that have been through this exact situation and just do not know what to do, we at Caridon Landlord Solutions want to hear from you and your experiences as we would like to present the cases to DWP officials.
If a tenant is in rent arrears just like the LHA system all payments should be suspended while the landlord and tenant provide representations to the Local Authority giving the Local Authority all facts to base their decision on who they should pay!