UC47 rejected but tenant consistently in arrears?

by Readers Question

8:17 AM, 24th April 2020
About a month ago

UC47 rejected but tenant consistently in arrears?

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UC47 rejected but tenant consistently in arrears?

I have just had a UC47 rejected as it states rent arrears are not in excess of two months rent. Does this mean the total tent of the property – or does this mean the total amount of rent due by the tenant towards her part of the rent – in other words her top ups? A distinct difference.

I want to challenge this as tenant is in arrears to the tune of over £1,000, but this has built up as a direct result of her negation of payment of the top ups to the rent which have been consistently underpaid since April 2019. If I have to wait till two months actual rent accrues first (that’s over £1700) then the period of arrears will span nearly 2 years!

Anyone had a similar issue – can I challenge on this basis as it is clearly unfair.

Many thanks

Reluctant Landlord

Editor’s Note:

.Gov Click here: If a tenant is having difficulty paying their rent, fill in the UC47 form to request payment of rent from a tenant’s Universal Credit.



Comments

Clint

19:06 PM, 14th May 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Thanks for explaining Bill. I have also found this to be the case on virtually every occasion when I phone them on the 0800 3285644 UC number where, they try to give me a different number and fob me off. They only accept that I as a landlord can call on the line, when I explain that I have been calling on the same line for about two years, and also that it definitely is the correct number as I have filled a UC47 form

Mick Roberts

7:56 AM, 15th May 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Bill irvine at 14/05/2020 - 16:16
Bill,

My first complaint to UC.
She asked for my NI No. I said That won't tell u anything. I'm a Landlord, I'm not the claimant.
She said Needs it.
I gave it her.
She said Ooh I can't find u.
I said Told u that.
She said Ooh you're a Landlord, I don't think we can take your complaint.
Gees, these DWP people are really backwards.
As u know, the managers who u would think have some'at about 'em are thicker than the thickest people u knew in your school.
The Directors who u would think are on good salaries would have some'at about 'em. Their replies are what a chimpanzee could have wrote.

Bill irvine

12:40 PM, 15th May 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 15/05/2020 - 07:56Afternoon
Neil Couling, DWP's most senior director, announced yesterday, the launch of the online Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) scheme, the link to which can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-landlord-request-for-a-managed-payment-or-rent-arrears-deduction
As I've mentioned before, the system was first piloted involving a number of my PRS clients in various parts of the UK. Many of these organisations had, up to that point, been experiencing £00,000's in lost rental income, which was severly damaging their cashflow and bottom line. Almost overnight the pilot system addressed many (but not all) of the problems they had been experiencing. The newly launched version has already had a beneficial impact on new claims arising from the COVID crisis, with some claims sorted in hours or days, rather than many weeks/months later.
You'll find if you use the new system, it asks you to complete a number of sections and, amongst other things, requests details of rent arrears, other Tier 1 factors, your tenant(s) and your bank details. Once completed, you then simply click to process. The system immediately acknowledges your application, which is a bonus itself.
So ditch your UC 47s and start using the online version immediately.
I'd be interested in hearing of your experiences good and not so good, so I can raise these directly with DWP's management. Undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
Bill

Mick Roberts

14:06 PM, 15th May 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Bill irvine at 15/05/2020 - 12:40
Bill,

I got it wrong earlier when we discussed this trial, the man weeks ago sent me a new link I thought for when it goes live to everyone, then only a few days ago, I got his email saying we rolling it out to the public. U know me, behind with me emails.

I've just had another tenant today, found out she claimed UC 24th April. UC asking her the rent off the tenancy which is 5 years old & lower rent. And now GEES battle to get the correct rent updated before payment day.

When will UC start asking Landlord the rent. I've had this out with UC many a times & the Job Centres JC & they acknowledge, that we shun't be asking tenant for rent proof off tenancy cause it could be years old & rent increases since then. And alas UC JC still ask for tenancy rent proof. It proves nothing, just that there was a tenancy years ago.

Bill irvine

14:35 PM, 15th May 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 15/05/2020 - 14:06Hi Mick
I'm surprised to hear that's still happening because when the issue first came to light in 2013/14 DWP accepted an old AST was of no assistance, in terms of validating the rent charge.
At the time, both Social & Private landlords/agents were encouraged to create a one page document, addressed to the tenant, that confirmed the basic details: Tenancy start date; tenant's name; property address; post code; rental charge & frequency (weekly, monthly etc.) plus number of living and bedrooms. Several of my clients provide the information on their headed paper and hand this to the tenant at the point, the AST is signed.
The UC Regulations also provide, that DWP's staff can contact the landlord to ask for the correct details, if this has not been provided or there is some dubiety around this. The same regulations also require landlords & agents to notify DWP of any "material changes" to the rent charge. Failure to do so, could result in the landlord being pursued for any overpayment arising from this ommission.
So, there's nothing to stop them asking you for the information.

In the event the claim is decided, based on the incorrect facts, DWP can of its own accord remedy that mistake. Equally, tenants themselves an ask for the decision to be revised, taking account of the correct facts. Some of the large backdates my social landlord clients and I have secured in recent months (one involving £25K) were achieved following this course of action. Regrettably many of DWP's staff don't understand some of these more complex issues.

If you encounter any problems remedying your case, refer it to me and I'll pursue with DWP.
Bill

Mick Roberts

18:23 PM, 21st May 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Here is a bit of a result I had earlier with some brilliant Job Centre staff who at the start didn't want to implement the rent change.
My only tenant that wouldn't put the new increased rent on her journal.
After my email below, action was being taken.

My advice to you other Landlords on here & PLEASE SPREAD. Don't take no for an answer, keep going in the job centres, get friendly with the managers, teach 'em about the troubles we having which ultimately leads to tenants homeless & then we may eventually get some email contact with common sense person like some of us have now with HB departments.

JC Manager,

Can we pursue this further please. Get the UC Bigwigs above to see sense & give us Landlords somewhere somehow to report these very important changes such as rent increases.

Bill Irvine who advises Councils & Housing Associations on their problems with UC matters, has again told me DWP MUST take the material change off the Landlord if the tenant is failing to report it.
Whether this change be detrimental to the tenant or not.
If the Landlord told DWP, this tenant moved out 2 months ago, would DWP implement the change?
If the Landlord told DWP, the rent has gone down, would DWP implement the change?
If the Landlord told DWP, tenant had won the lottery, would DWP take the info?

This could end up in a girl & 3 to 4 kids being homeless soon. If she don’t pay.
If I go for the arrears, & UC say Ooh Mick the rent isn’t £625 the TENANT SAYS it’s £2pw.
If I go for court, & they eventually evict.
Another one of them very easily avoidable homeless cases when we look back.

Landlords are obliged & duty bound to report a rent increase change if the tenant isn’t doing it.
It’s not a requirement by tenants if the Landlord does it.
There is a reason why HB for 23+ years has been requiring Landlords to tell them about rent changes-Cause it works & reduces homeless.
We have to stop rolling over & say UC won’t allow us. It’s up to us at the start to get these changes/rules/obstacles implemented/sorted for the next lot of tenants to stop this tide of homeless.

Bill irvine

19:18 PM, 21st May 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Hi Mick
Good to see DWP’s staff had a light bulb moment. It’s taken long enough, as we’ve been highlighting the stupidity of this flawed approach for years.
As you imply, if an overpayment occurred, and it was discovered the landlord hadn’t reported the drop in rent, change in tenancy agreement, tenant’s vacation of the property, who do you think they’d pursue for recovery - the landlord, of course!
Another “old chestnut” applies in APA arrangements. DWP was forced to drop its absurd use of “explicit consent” in December 2017, which should have curbed landlord losses. However, three years later, DWP staff are still telling landlords “we need your tenant to agree to redirection” when it’s own published guidance confirms that’s not the case!
In a similar vein, I wish I had a £1 for every time a landlord phoned to report, the APA that was already in operation all of a sudden stopped, with no warning from DWP.
Why was it stopped?
The tenant asked for it!
The same tenant who had previously misused their “housing costs” incurring the debt, that forced DWP to redirect in first instance. Seriously?
Did DWP’s staff think to discuss the tenant’s request with the same landlord - of course not, that would be too sensible!
I could go on, at some length, as to all the various problems we’ve tackled, assumed they were resolved, only to find a week or so later, the same problems emerge.
This morning I received an email from an elderly landlord from London. She had pursued a £7,000 rental loss, due to tenant misuse and DWP maladministration only to be told by “DWP’s Investigator” that everything had been done correctly, it was up to the landlord to sue her ex tenant and as no error was caused by DWP her complaint could not be escalated. A load of tosh!
The APA scheme, yet again, had caused the lady wholly avoidable loss. She had every right to request further escalation to the Independent Case Examiner. DWP’s attempted denial is yet another example of why private landlords have little or no faith in an APA scheme & DWP Administration that is remote and completely ambivalent to the significant losses they’re unnecessarily incurring.
Bill

Clint

19:57 PM, 21st May 2020
About 2 weeks ago

The simplest thing which UC should do, is allow the landlord to act on behalf of the tenant and pay the rent directly the landlord and bingo we would have a wonderful system. It worked with HB but I guess that would be too easy, and not in keeping with making the life of the landlord a misery.
Yesterday, I phoned UC regarding three months of payment that was paid to the tenant, who did not pass on the rent element to me, and also about a payment which was received with my originator reference, on a day of the month that did not match any of my tenants. I could not check who the payment with the originator reference was for as, I receive a lot of the same amount of rent for other tenants as, they are at the LHA rate.
The UC officer stated that she could not give me any information about the tenant’s payments or the payment that was made with my originator reference number.
The officer, would not give me any information at all however, kept stating that someone would call me back within two days. I informed her that I phoned up four times so far and each time, I was told someone would call me back but, on all occasions, no one got back to me. I told her to check the records and informed her, that I had the date and names of the calls that I had made but she was not interested.
I told the lady that if she just told me who the payment with my originator reference was for, it would solve a lot of problems. However, she said she was not allowed to give me the information, but she was now taking my number so someone would definitely be calling me which I really and truly do not believe. I hope I am proved to be wrong.
Anyway, I have now raised complaints to three establishments one of which should be the Stage 1 complaints but have skipped this and gone straight to stage 2 as to date, I have not found the Stage 1 complaints email address for my area.
BTW this complaint is for another tenant and not the one I originally wrote about in this thread.

Mick Roberts

7:29 AM, 22nd May 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Bang on Bill-Stupidity.
Yes disgusting when DWP & HB say u can sue the tenant u know. Yeah right, spend another £1000 in court costs for the Judge to say They on benefits Mick, how they gonna' pay u back?

Yes Clint Bingo, so simple isn't it. Pay rent directly & wonderful system, massive reduction in homeless & no more allowing certain tenants to misuse taxpayers money.

Yes Clint, I too have these problems where UC putting tenants rents in my bank & not got a clue who's is who's as they not using a reference. Fortunately, I now have local great manager in Nottingham Service centre who re-corrects these for me. She rang me 3 days ago, said her & the staff laugh when I tell 'em another payment today, no reference, just National Insurance number as they don't know how it is happening, as she says they are NOT ALLOWED to pay into bank with NI number, it's a very very naughty No No by DWP to do this.

Back to my DWP not asking Landlord about how much the rent is.

I have been hearing of stories of fraud from the tenants and DWP fraud people, but the DWP are being a bit coy of what this fraud is. I haven't pushed them for an answer, but I suspect one of the frauds may be where the tenants rent is lower than what the LHA rate is.
So some sly tenants have been telling DWP UC Ooh my rent is £625 when in fact, Landlord is only charging £550. As DWP REFUSE to ask the Landlord how much the rent is. Ok, believe the tenant then & u only have yourself to blame. Totally avoidable fraud cause of DWP's refusal to work with Landlord who can tell u the proper rent.
So tenant fraudulently pockets the £75 every month. There is a reason HB asks the Landlord how much the rent is. It's called Rent Proof. It works. It clears up misunderstanding or lies the tenant may have done. Double check with the Landlord.

Some landlords charge less than the LHA rates, so this is where tenants can take advantage.
Us experienced HB UC Landlords don't charge lower than the LHA rate as we need to maximise income when we can as we know we have many years past and future where HB UC underpays what normal rents are. And we end up swallowing the loss if we compassionate to our long term tenants who we know can't afford it.

DWP MUST talk to the Landlord and ask the landlord what the rent is. Landlord knows this, tenants very often get confused with their rent with it being either weekly, 4 weekly, monthly, giving DWP wrong figures, inexperienced imbecile DWP with no common sense getting it wrong. I had several months ago a Job Centre worker put a tenants WHOLE monthly rent on a nice 2 bed house down as £72 pm. As that's what the tenant told her. Job centre worker din't question her. Tenant was telling her the monthly top up she currently pays. And this was for a woman with 2 kids in a nice 2 bed house. Gees to not say Are u sure your rent is that low?

If DWP pay Housing Element which as we know is rent, then pay the ruddy Landlord. If that's what it's for 'rent', then WHAT IS THE PROBLEM if u pay the Landlord? As it is, where they do everything possible to avoid the Landlord being paid the rent direct, DWP are opening theirselves up to fraud. I'll even defend a tenant in court if they get charged with inflating the rent. I'll say 'What does DWP expect if they aren't checking with the Landlord what the actual correct rent is?'
Do they think the very important Landlord doesn't exist? We very important in the accommodation chain. If we don't get included in decisions, which as we know ends up in non-payment, we then don't take UC any more. And that is what is happening.

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