UC email to Landlords is causing THOUSANDS to be HOMELESS!

by Mick Roberts

A month ago

UC email to Landlords is causing THOUSANDS to be HOMELESS!

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UC email to Landlords is causing THOUSANDS to be HOMELESS!

Firstly, if there are any Newspapers, Media outlets, TV program’s readings this and you are soon doing a story on Universal Credit, then I give you full permission to use all this post of mine.

Below is the email that UC are now sending to Landlords when we report that the tenants are in arrears. I think and have also been told by Bill Irvine (Master of putting up with the crap of UC) that I have sent the correct arrears form to the correct email address:

“Thank you for your enquiry.

This email address is only for Landlords to use when requesting a Managed Payment of housing costs or rent arrears or both from Universal Credit.

For all other housing enquires please use the Housing email address UC.SERVICECENTREHOUSING@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK

In order to process your enquiry we require a fully completed ÏSecure or Ð Non Secure UC47 request form.

If you have sent a ÏSecure UC47 form to this email box from a Ð Non Secure email address we will not process it as it does not comply with Data Protection legislation and your email and form will be deleted. A secure email address is one that includes GSI, GCSX, GSX, CJX, CJSM, GOV.UK, GOV.SCOT or GSE. This is to minimise the risk of sensitive information being intercepted and misused. If you do not have a secure email address and have completed a ÏSecure UC47 request form then please complete the Ð Non Secure UC47 form and resend.

Alternatively you can send the completed ÏSecure UC47 form to: FREEPOST DWP UNIVERSAL CREDIT LIVE SERVICE.

Once the completed form is received a decision will be made whether or not to make a Managed Payment of housing costs, arrears deductions or both. We endeavour to action your request prior to the end of the assessment period.”

Now I’m not thick, but I reckon you have got to have a degree in English, Physics, Algebra and Computer Science to understand what that email means.

Just this one email sent to all Landlords who are trying to report arrears i.e. that the rent isn’t coming in to pay the mortgage, WILL BE CONTRIBUTING to a few percent of homelessness i.e. many thousands.

If is is DWP’s & Govt’s INTENTION to make it hard for Landlords, then once again, when they make it harder for us, they make it harder for tenants. They really are a load of imbeciles.

Why don’t DWP, put links in this email (well not this email because no one can understand it), to say here is the form you need & here is the email address you need to send it to. Simple! They could save MANY people from being homeless. A 5 year old that plays on computer could think of that. But with their millions of overspend they can’t. Why not? They need to make the email more understandable so that a 10 year old receiving can understand it.

One of my tenants has now been paid TWICE – two months, 2 x £395 since I reported his arrears. Plus the 2 months previous we had to wait before reporting arrears. So he has now had £1,580 of FREE MONEY. He hasn’t paid his rent despite having received the benefits! UC have gave her Taxpayers money (which the News programmes never say) to do as he likes.

Now I like this tenant, he’s been with me for 14 years. I purchased his previous house from him in 2004 when he was a week away from being repossessed. His previous wife still lives in that house. So I’m not going to evict him (yet), as I am going to keep emailing and writing to UC. When they finally wake up, they should be paying me compensation for the missing rent, as they aren’t allowed to pay benefit for the same period twice, so it has to be paid as compensation (more taxpayers money). I can let this go a year. The more Landlords that do this and start complaining, eventually one day when millions of pounds of Taxpayers money has been wasted, UC & the Govt might finally wake up.

We had a similar problem in 2008 when LHA came in and local Housing Benefit departments were adamant to keep paying tenants ‘the rent’ to keep Govt happy. By around 2012 they woke up, realised it wasn’t working and made it much easier for Landlords to report arrears and get paid direct in a 33.5 second phone call. Why aren’t UC coming to talk to us and tap HB staff for the answers? Proper thick this Govt & DWP!

Life and business and sport are about percentages and marginal gains. The more you get right, the better you become, the better things are. This few percent thousands homeless is EASY TO SOLVE!!!!

GOVERNMENT, UC, DWP, WAKE UP! You are in denial. We on the ground know what is happening and what the necessary fixes are. Publish the figures that the cost in homelessness this is causing!

Mick Roberts



Comments

David Price

A month ago

Universal Discredit‽

Bill Irvine

A month ago

Hi Mick

Least we all forget, Universal Credit was first introduced in Ashton-under-Lynne 4 years ago when, at that time, the plan was to pay tenants in 90%+ of cases. We now have landlords receiving 60-70% of their tenant’s UC awards paid direct through the APA process. Not all APA requests are refused. Some are awarded almost immediately.

In recent months DWP has withdrawn the 7 day “waiting period”; abolished the need for “explicit consent”; from 11th April 2018 agreed to pay PRS landlords direct, where at the point of transition to UC, the landlord was receiving LHA direct; plus pay two further weeks LHA at the point of transition at the full LHA rate, even where the tenant has earnings and/or income above their Applicable amount.

All of these developments are positive and came about through the efforts of landlords and organisations like the RLA making representations to DWP and Ministers of State. So, complaining and rattling sabres, does have an effect, although sometimes maybe not as quick as we’d like.

I started making representations for my client landlords in 2014/15. Initially, most of those complaints were successful, and included cases where DWP made “special payments” or compensation for rental loss. But, as I suspected, as the numbers of such cases increased, DWP hierarchy intervened by ruling out compensation, even though, in most cases they accepted the rental loss was due to maladministration. DWP was also of the view, landlords had no right to complain as the UC award related to the claimant, not the landlord.

Ever since, I’ve been pursuing the rights of my clients to complain and seek compensation. In August 2015 I secured written agreement from DWP that landlords do have rights to complain. DWP hierarchy, including its Director General, agreed, that the “housing costs element” should be suspended, where an APA request had been made, pending a decision on the merits of the application. Having secured that commitment, I fully expected a sea change in the way APA requests were dealt with and a substantial reduction in the losses experienced by landlords. However, my optimism was quickly dashed when DWP simply reneged on its promise, claiming the UC regulations provided no facility to suspend, even though its own Guidance to Decision Makers suggested otherwise.

Some of you may recall my exchange with Neil Couling, DWP’s Director General which was published on Property118 https://www.property118.com/open-letter-dwp-neil-couling-regarding-universal-credit/98648/ Following that exchange, we’ve continued to bombard DWP with individual complaints. Some are resolved reasonably quickly, whereas, others take for ever and are very frustrating to all concerned, including some of DWP’s own Complaints & Resolution staff. Believe me, some of them were just as frustrated as the landlord complainants, when tenants month-on-month were paid and misused their “housing element”.

A number of these cases led to 3rd stage referrals to ICE (Independent Case Examiner) and helped bring about the withdrawal of “explicit consent” in December 2017. DWP has also started the rollout of its “landlord portal” which, at present is limited to councils and large housing associations. In time, I expect PRS landlords will also gain access.

So, whilst I fully sympathise and agree with many of your comments, they’re not new. Neither are your suggestions novel, in any way. Since UC’s introduction we’ve argued for an LHA safeguarding approach being adopted, with rights of appeal and a responsive complaints process, which recognises landlords have rights.

We have made progress, for example, landlords can be paid by schedule once multiple APAs are in place. I expect we’ll continue to make inroads re our objectives, especially, if more landlords, start earnestly challenging DWP decisions and taking them to task, through its complaints process, even with its flaws.

It takes months to progress to ICE stage, but past reports from ICE suggest a very high success rate (50% of complaints wholly supported) so I plan to continue assisting landlords doing just that.

For landlords like you, committed to this niche market, I would recommend you either find the time to educate yourself and spend more time being hands-on with Universal Credit or secure yourself professional assistance, otherwise you'll experience further financial pain as the Full Service rollout expandsin area and claimant numbers over the next 4 years.

Bill Irvine

Mick Roberts

A month ago

Reply to the comment left by Bill Irvine at 19/05/2018 - 10:36Yes Bill,
Very good point which I wish someone would collect all these factual points & show the Govt & Councils & say See how u get it wrong. They wanted to pay 90% of tenants direct. And now only maybe 30% are being paid direct. We all knew that would happen, but the people at the top han't got a clue. They just made the homeless problem bigger on the way.
Are we saying Bill, UC can keep paying tenant for months after Landlord has reported arrears & once UC realise they've made mistake, they aren't paying the Landlord this 'lost' rent they mistakenly paid the tenant? Or I see your words, u reverted that back?
Yes, I've saved your very informative complaint page, so that should help when contacting people. Gees, one local person would save the Govt & Tax payer & Me & UC millions in time & money.
Ever since I got ONE local email & phone contact quite high up in HB years ago, my workload went down. HB's workload went down. I stopped doing several complaints to Ombudsman a year & council stopped paying thousands in compensation. It's a win win for everyone. UC is LOSE LOSE for everyone.
Yes, as we know, our high up UC contact even himself passed the UC47 APA arrears form onto the UC staff & said SUSPEND THIS, PAY THE LANDLORD, & ha ha u got to laugh or you'd cry, UC are still paying him to this date. If they ignore their own bosses above them, what hope is there for me miles away.
Yes I've got Sherrelle at Caridon Landlord Solutions to help me on anything slightly above simple, as simple to me is hard work for UC, so let experienced Sherrelle do it. Or u, but u too busy with your own UC obstacles.

Luke P

A month ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 19/05/2018 - 12:00
Perhaps, Mick, David Price, you and me should collectively make a point of no longer accepting UC tenants…maybe even get media involved. I could take 300+ properties out of circulation, David about 80-odd, I think, plus your load. We (rightly) attribute blame to DWP and we watch the fireworks. My S.21s certainly got noticed and likely contributed to some of the changes. What do you reckon…?

Mick Roberts

A month ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 19/05/2018 - 14:33I no longer am, unless I know 'em and 100% sure they gonna' be ok now and in 5 years.
I don't get why the media don't make a bigger meal out of it, after all it's taxpayers money that these kids at UC are giving the tenants to spend as they like. Taxpayers don't like giving HB tenants money as it is, but to then waste it as well.
You can start it off if u like. And I will take UC again if they revert payment easily.

David Price

A month ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 19/05/2018 - 14:33
Already started Luke, I will be issuing S21s like a machine gun issues bullets, starting on the day of full service rollout which in my area is 31 May 2018. I do a mail merge from my database so that every S21 is correctly dated complete with the certificate of posting and the certificate of service. Whole process takes 10 seconds of my time. These will be issued every three months until UC interacts sensibly with landlords, preferably by allowing them to interact on line just as the insist claimants do.
ASTs have a big A in the top corner, S21s a big C and certificate of posting a big C1, ready to present to the court for a possession claim.
The three tenants who have already transferred to UC were immediately in serious arrears and I cannot afford to have many more default on their rent, so have to take proactive action.

David Price

A month ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 19/05/2018 - 15:28
Generally the media do not get involved because landlords are hated more than benefit cheats‽

Bill Irvine

A month ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 19/05/2018 - 15:37
Hi David

If you’re already receiving LHA paid direct to you, in most, if not all of these cases, why are you issuing section 21s en masse?

The fact that your area goes Full Service on 31st May, doesn’t mean all your cases migrate to UC at that time. Some may remain on LHA for another 2/3 years, so where’s the sense in issuing notice to a tenant, already having their LHA paid to you, when it might be completely unnecessary?

Also, for those that do immediately migrate, if, at that point LHA is paid direct, then DWP from 11th April 2018 can redirect payment of UC, without the need for an APA! Again, if UC was paid direct, as proposed, issuing section 21s appears premature and unnecessary?

For many landlords, invested in LHA/UC accommodation, it’s not easy, for a variety of reasons, to overnight, switch from benefit dependent tenants to working tenants. Adopting your proposed strategy could help repossess their properties, but could also potentially create lengthy void periods with no rental income and mortgage defaults.

I fully understand your frustration at what’s happened so far, but if you’re hoping serving section 21s is going to greatly influence DWP I believe you’re mistaken.

Few, if any, landlords would want to create unnecessary homelessness, especially where the tenants have previously proved themselves good and reliable. Many of these tenants, given the choice, would prefer if the housing element came to you, as this removes the threat of repossession. Why should they be deprived of their tenancy for faults caused by a seriously incompetent DWP administration?

Bill Irvine

Luke P

A month ago

Reply to the comment left by Bill Irvine at 19/05/2018 - 16:58
All of my tenants are on direct HB payments, but it is simply not happening when switching to UC.

Perhaps you’re not aware, Bill, is that a DWP manager has refused to authorise direct payment because I served S.21s to all and she “…knows my game!” Despite the fact all were on direct payment before and now (with S.21…although not the reason they were served), they are a Tier 1 Consideration Factor.

I have few options left and as the second largest provider of PRS property to benefit recipients, this will have an impact!

Suggestions welcome, Bill.

David Price

A month ago

Reply to the comment left by Bill Irvine at 19/05/2018 - 16:58
Bill I hear everything you say but do not trust the DWP based on bitter and expensive experience. Why should I trust any organisation with such a dismal reputation, an organisation which makes it near impossible to speak to anyone and rejects paperwork without informing the originator. I want to be in a position to take immediate action should things go wrong, call it insurance.

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