The truth about the roll out of Universal Credit

by CARIDON LANDLORD SOLUTIONS

16:18 PM, 20th March 2017
About 2 years ago

The truth about the roll out of Universal Credit

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The truth about the roll out of Universal Credit

Many landlords and tenants alike have experienced some sort of issue since the roll out of Universal Credit.

Claimants are often left with no money for a long period of time during the assessment period, this delay causes a lot of other issues for the claimant such as debt, rent arrears and risk of eviction.

Astonishingly Frank Field the chair of the work and pensions committee has identified this issue and said: “Despite a growing body of evidence about the very real hardship that the roll out of universal credit is creating for some, often the most vulnerable, claimants and the struggles it is creating for local authorities trying to fulfill their responsibilities it is flabbergasting that the government continues to keep its head in the sand.”

Unlike with the LHA system landlords are unable to simply pick up the phone and contact the Housing Benefit department and speak with an advisor to find out  information. Calling DWP is a complete different ball game there are no real set of procedures that DWP are abiding too.

Field went onto say the government was still not attempting to solve the problems with the benefit as it was being rolled out across the country.

To many landlords we are left thinking what more will it take for the Government to release that the system is not working and when will they listen to our points of view, the select committee have reopened its inquiry into the major welfare reform and have said that rent arrears associated with universal credit were “likely to be of a short duration”.

For us landlords only time will tell whether this is true or not but one thing that is clear is the Government will continue with the roll out of Universal Credit.

Several landlords that were quite happy housing those on benefits are now rapidly withdrawing and turning to the private market, the vulnerable are becoming more vulnerable and homelessness is rapidly increasing.

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

Michael Barnes

17:42 PM, 21st March 2017
About 2 years ago

the select committee have reopened its inquiry into the major welfare reform and have said that rent arrears associated with universal credit were “likely to be of a short duration”

Is that a short duration for each individual claimant, or a short duration for the UC programme?
i.e is it a problem that they expect to continue or a problem that they expect to be resolved by process change?

CARIDON LANDLORD SOLUTIONS

19:07 PM, 21st March 2017
About 2 years ago

Dear Michael,

Thank you for your comment.
The select committee have presented there findings to DWP intern DWP have acknowledged that there needs to be better communication avenues for landlords under the UC service. I believe this will reduce rent arrears as landlords will be able to know what is going on with the claimants claim (Housing Element) just like under LHA and therefore be able to assist the tenant.
Back to your question, the select committee are aiming for the rent arrears associated with Universal Credit to be short lived with process changes in the system.

Robert Grant

16:54 PM, 25th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sherrelle Collman" at "21/03/2017 - 19:07":

As someone who rented to a tenant on UC via my Letting Agent in Leeds he paid no rent for the first two months and when I applied to Universal Credit to be paid direct they just ignored my phone calls, e mails and eventually a formal complaint. I went to court to get repossession and then evicted the tenant - total cost £3850. I shall not be renting to people on Universal Credit again.

CARIDON LANDLORD SOLUTIONS

18:54 PM, 25th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Robert,

Sorry to hear of your experience by the sounds of it, it seems you never managed to get a direct payment.
DWP are so scared of breeching data protection they would rather claimants misuse public funds.
For your rental loss have you thought of tracing the tenant and doing a money claim?

Robert Grant

19:22 PM, 25th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Yes always do as much as I can to recover monies as been doing it a long time. I am a chartered building surveyor and NLA accredited landlord and try to do a good job. But in this case ex army guy with problems and it was only the fact that he has signed something to say payment would be made direct that we took him as a tenant. He has no assets to chase. Data protection is misused so often - finding out what is the situation re paying a landlord to avoid eviction is a valid request and can only help the tenant. Possibly six of my tenants are on benefits and do not want the rent to be paid to them as it puts them at risk of eviction if they don't keep up payments. The Government is just making landlords refuse to take benefit tenants so how does that help anyone. They will have to house them in temporary accommodation. I have had good benefit tenants some for over 15 years but one needs to get rents in to survive.

CARIDON LANDLORD SOLUTIONS

19:27 PM, 25th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Grant" at "25/03/2017 - 19:22":

I understand Robert.
It's good that your six benefit tenants want the rent to be paid directly to you, it helps.
If there on Universal Credit they should make that request very clear.

Charles Fonteijn

11:33 AM, 26th March 2017
About 2 years ago

What I do not understand is why if the tenant keeps the housing benefit payments or the Housing Element payments it is not added to their income by DWP or the Council Landlords should be able to report that the tenant is keeping the money and this should cause ESA/JSA payments to stop. It should work as a deterrent for the tenants keeping the housing benefit payments or the Housing Element payments

Robert Grant

12:09 PM, 26th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Charles - I think a lot of it is to do with the issue of the DWP empowering everyone so they are in charge of their lives and this includes them getting all the money so they learn how to manage it. It is a noble principle. BUT what they don't have is common sense and an acknowledgement that it doesn't work with everyone and things can go wrong and it will be the landlord who suffers. Data protection is also mishandled so he Landlord gets no information. If it affects a landlord's income and ability to survive or cover costs he/she will stop renting to UC tenants. The alternative is temporary accommodation which is an additional cost and by definition does not provide a stable environment for the tenant and their family. Everyone seems to lose out.


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