9:20 AM, 19th March 2021, About 2 years ago 8
Dear members, On 16.03.21 I have emailed the following letter to, scotland.complaintsresolutionteam1 @dwp.gov.uk, for a new formal complaint to them regarding the UC housing cost of one of my tenant which is a situation I face regularly with tenants on UC during an end of the tenancy.
The circumstances are no less than benefit fraud colluded between the tenant, social worker & the Dwp UC office which is very concerning.
Private details have been deleted, but the rest are self-explanatory in the content of the email below. We must continue to complain to the Dwp until they start correcting their fraudulent behaviour and abuse of public funds. The complaint has also been forwarded to the Dwp National partnership team contacts for Scotland: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org as well as Scottish MSP Humza.Yousaf.email@example.com.
To date, no one replied yet. You will find that there are local representatives too for England. I will continue to write to complain to them as long as it is needed each time the UC office assists that kind of housing cost fraud. It is really not acceptable their behaviour is not accounted for.
”To: Director General for Work and Health at DWP Complaints,
Post Handling Site B, Wolverhampton, WV99 2GY, Correspondence@DWP.GOV.UK
Formal complaint SP451**** Miss ******** at ******** UC housing cost fraud of £650.00 APA payment for period 06.02.21-05.03.21.
We hope you are well.
We write to lodge our formal written complaint & report the UC housing cost fraud of the following.
We write to firstly report the ongoing fraud assisted by the Dwp UC office staff of the UC housing cost of many tenants on UC during the end of tenancies which must be changed.
We will focus on one of our tenants in this instance and secondly submit our formal complaint about how this is still allowed to happen continuously without further actions and administrative changes to avoid this in the future.
We are the landlord of SP451**** Miss ******* residing at ********. Her tenancy commenced on 15.10.21 with rent of £650pm. The UC housing cost is set up through APA and the first payment was received on 12.11.20 and monthly thereafter.
Her UC assessment period is 06.02.21 to 05.03.21 was due on 12.03.21 but was not paid while still residing at the flat with a full lawful tenancy.
On 05.03.21 we received an email from the tenant advising she will be moving out on 26.03.21 which does not give the proper notice period to start with. She advised today she now wants to move out on 30.03.21.
We called the tenant on Friday 12.03.21 when the £650.00 UC housing cost was not received and was advised by her that her social worker advised her to change her UC housing cost to her future address now while still residing at the current address *******. If this is true, her social worker is advising her to commit benefit fraud claiming for UC housing cost for a different address to where she does not hold a tenancy for or reside at yet. This must be investigated & stopped.
We called the UC helpline 0800 328 5644 opt 2, opt 2 and spoken to Matt on Friday 12.03.21 to report the full details to him requesting him to feed this back to the caseworker & request a landlord query for the caseworker to return a call to us to discuss. No one has responded since. We have written to their office by email to today.
We are seriously concerned about how the UC office would stop UC housing cost especially when it is set up through APA while :
1. Omitting all forms of communication with the housing provider to fact-check,
2. Not making any proper checks with the landlord through basic communication,
3. Not verifying the end date of the tenancy with the housing provider to avoid misuse/abuse of public funds or to avoid UC housing cost fraud,
4. Continue to allow and assist UC housing cost fraud despite we have addressed this with numerous of your UC phone advisors & by email complaints.
Moving forward we urge your office to make the following essential changes:
1. Suspend UC housing cost when and during a period of only the tenant has notified of a change of address,
2. Carry out basic communication with the housing provider to verify end of tenancy date (choice of by email or post which should be recorded from the start of a tenancy as a communication option for the housing provider).
3. Give a courtesy period of say 14 days for a reply before making changes to avoid ongoing fraud.
4. Measures to make sure the actual housing provider is being paid the UC housing cost instead of paying an address not resided at against guidance.
5. Pay the UC housing cost to the housing provider to the end date of the tenancy or to the date the tenant left as per guidance.
The above 5 points are essential to avoid continuing the ongoing UC housing cost fraud committed by the tenants which currently the Dwp is turning a blind eye to and assisting.
We are requesting a swift response to address this complaint and the payment of the missing £650.00 UC housing cost set up through APA payment for this claim assessment period 06.02.21-05.03.21 for ******** without delay.
THE TENANT IS STILL RESIDING AT ******** AS OF TODAY AS A TENANT AND IS SCHEDULED TO MOVE OUT/RETURN KEYS ON 30.03.21 which is pending too as it is a future date. She may postpone moving out again. As of now she is still our tenant and residing at the address and the UC APA housing cost must be continued to be paid for ******* through APA.
We would appreciate a swift response without delay.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
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11:02 AM, 19th March 2021, About 2 years ago
Similar situations have happened to me several times with almost every tenant. Even when the case worker has tried to check with me the landlord, the tenant gave a false phone number for me, to someone pretending to be me who said the tenant could be paid directly as I was out of town. It takes some time to find out what is going on because it’s impossible to speak to anyone in the UC office. I got to the truth by contacting my MP but by the the time it’s concluded the tenant has accrued hundreds in arrears. UC do take a portion of the arrears to pay back the landlord but something like £30 per month of £2000 arrears, at this point the tenant will move out and the rent and arrears stop immediately so another month rent is unpaid. There is a ‘representative person’ for UC in every area that can be contacted with a problem, I forget the job title but I believe they are listed by area on the government web site. They can give permission for the case worker to speak directly to the landlord and will find out the facts and relate the notes the case worker has made. In one of my cases the case worker suspected the tenant was keeping the rent but they can’t do anything about it because of data protection. In this case they did try to phone me but as I said earlier the tenant gave them a false number and the case worker had to accept it.
13:00 PM, 19th March 2021, About 2 years ago
Perhaps we should point out to the DWP that housing costs would reduce if landlords were paid direct BY DEFAULT as we would not have to charge so much if all the rent was collected. Meanwhile I only take tenants if they have a property owning guarantor.
15:23 PM, 19th March 2021, About 2 years ago
Reply to the comment left by June Cook at 19/03/2021 - 11:02
I had a case very similar and lost the £800 UC rent paid direct to the tenant who just pocketed it and left.
I had submitted UC47s over and over again and also informed DWP that the T was boasting that they intended to leave with the money once they got it which was exactly what they did.
Formal complaint lodged with DWP.
15:56 PM, 19th March 2021, About 2 years ago
Reply to the comment left by Anne Nixon at 19/03/2021 - 15:23
This should be the new 'PPI'!
"Are you a landlord who has lost income through the mishandling of UC direct payments by the DWP . . ?"
Perhaps if they were looking at having to compensate affected landlords it might sharpen them up a bit.
16:57 PM, 19th March 2021, About 2 years ago
Reply to the comment left by Anne Nixon at 19/03/2021 - 15:56
I would agree to that, a collective effort to get something done. Most tenants wouldn’t do this if it wasn’t so easy to get away with. I have had tenants who genuinely think they can keep the first eight weeks rent because the landlord can’t do anything until the tenant is in 8 weeks arrears. They told me other tenant friends had told them it was the case as if it was a legal ruling.
17:15 PM, 19th March 2021, About 2 years ago
a) DWP guilty of Maladminstration in 100% of cases https://universalcreditadvice.com/news/dwp-guilty-of-maladminstration-in-100-of-cases-but-no-penalties-applied/
b) DWP & ICE failing Private Landlords https://universalcreditadvice.com/articles/dwp-and-independent-case-examiner-both-failing-private-landlords/
9:49 AM, 22nd March 2021, About 2 years ago
Reply to the comment left by June Cook at 19/03/2021 - 11:02
Can't the case worker get your phone number from the tenancy agreement?
12:21 PM, 22nd March 2021, About 2 years ago
Reply to the comment left by JB at 22/03/2021 - 09:49
They could have but They didn’t they asked the tenant. Besides the tenant an change the details on the tenancy agreement. I’ve seen it crossed out and rewritten in pen with no initials added. The case workers seem to just take things without question or perhaps they’re afraid of being threatened or claimant kicking off.