Universal Credit Landlord engagement

by David Asker

13:47 PM, 3rd July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Universal Credit Landlord engagement

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Universal Credit Landlord engagement

The roll out of Universal Credit has had an impact on rental arrears for claimants. Rent owed by Universal Credit claimants in the UK is, on average, £663 compared to just £263 for those on housing benefit (source: a FOI request made by Panorama).

In July the Government will begin porting over legacy claimants of housing benefit, starting with a pilot in Harrogate. This pilot will look at how the managed migration will work and staff at the Jobcentre will closely support claimants.

Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions commented:

“Moving people from the old and outdated benefits system to Universal Credit is a positive and important moment. Once on Universal Credit people will benefit from a more personal service and can expect to receive up to 6 benefits combined into one, making it easier for them to manage their money.

“But the switch needs to be done carefully which is why we are taking a step-by-step approach to this, starting in Harrogate. I want to be sure that the switch to Universal Credit is a hassle-free process for claimants and everyone receives the personalised service they deserve.”

Obviously, landlords may well be affected by the transition of any tenants. The pilot will hopefully consider any issues and look at the best way to support both tenants and landlords through the process.

The DWP has published a newsletter for landlords to keep them up to date with the latest information and the roll out of Universal Credit.

The information included in the newsletter includes: recent announcements from the Government including pilots, key statistics, information and guides for landlords including disclosure guides, how to submit a managed payment request, help to claim and other additional useful information.

The statistics

In April 2019 there were 610,000 people on Universal Credit who were in employment.

Submitting a managed payment request

A landlord can submit a request using form UC47; this form can be used for managed payment and rent arrears deduction. The form is available here, you will need to send the completed form to ucfull.service@dwp.gsi.gov.uk.

Other information available for landlords

Several documents have been published by the Government including:

Universal Credit and rented housing: guide for landlords

Alternative Payment Arrangements

Universal Credit: April 2019 rent changes for social landlords

Contact The Sheriffs Office



Comments

Fuming Landlord

20:19 PM, 3rd July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Are there any landlords on here who have properties in Harrogate? I am really concerned about how the switchover is going to affect us.

Bill irvine

10:34 AM, 4th July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Fuming Landlord at 03/07/2019 - 20:19
Good morning

As David's post suggests, the next and final stage of the Universal Credit rollout starts this month in Harrogate, as a pilot, with around 3,000 claimants being encouraged to participate. DWP maintains the pilot will help determine how best to extend the rollout to all parts of the UK. After Harrogate other areas will follow, bringing the pilot numbers to no more than 10,000 by next summer.

What DWP hasn't explained clearly is - "Natural Migration" continues to apply, so any tenant who experiences a change in the personal or family circumstances (change of address to new district; become unemployed or found too sick to work; single parent's youngest child turns 5) will almost certainly be told they must make a UC claim. Doing so, will bring their Housing Benefit and direct payments to an end, and from that point they'll be reliant on DWP administering their "housing costs" and personal awards as one claim. If you wish to secure payments of the housing costs direct to you, then you'll need to apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) and become accustomed to DWP ignoring you in your attempts to secure information. Old tenant mandates will not be accepted by DWP. Instead, you'll be expected to work with your tenant by making use of their online account and personal "journal".

Overall, “Managed” migration will involve another 3 million “legacy benefit” (e.g. JSA, ESA, Housing Benefit, Tax Credits) claimants being added to the current caseload of 2 million, with around 100,000 new awards being made each month through "Natural Migration". By December 2023 the total number of UC claims arising from both “Natural” and “Managed” migration should amount to circa 7 million; many will include your tenants.

As it has taken DWP 6 years to transfer 2 million to UC, the majority of whom were single claimants, with 40% having no “housing costs”, there are serious doubts about its ability to add 5 million more claimants, without many casualties along the way, and associated with this, rent arrears. The Social Security Advisory Committee has publicly expressed concern over DWP's state of readiness and its ability to meet its ambitious target of more than trebling the number of UC recipients in 3 years. On the other hand, DWP believes its handling of the migration to date has run smoothly and rejects the notion this latest phase will be challenging.

SRS and PRS Landlords’ staff have already played a significant part in the “natural migration” process. Without their input, many more tenants would have experienced some of the hardship and anxiety, others less fortunate have, especially in the last three years of transition. But the effort to date, in most areas, has only involved around 15/25% of landlords' anticipated caseload transfer. Plus, a large percentage of existing claimants are young, single, able bodied and IT literate. The other 75/85%, involving considerably more families with ESA, Tax Credits, DLA and PIP types, will not be anywhere near as straightforward for a DWP administration that hasn’t exactly covered itself in any glory so far.

So, in this latest and most critical stage of the migration process, both tenants and staff must be suitably prepared and ready to cope with the many challenges ahead. Once notified of their migration date, if the tenant doesn't claim UC by that date, their legacy claims, including HB/LHA will be cancelled, with only 1 months' grace period being given to salvage things.

If you have a sizeable LHA/UC caseload, make sure you take the time to find out as much as you can about this new benefit. For those that believe it's very like HB/LHA, think again. There are many significant differences, you need to know about and they're not all bad. Check out the RLA's website for more information about its UC seminars which operate in different regions. Look out, as well, for information from DWP and your local council about how and when Managed Migration is likely to start in your area.

Bill Irvine

Mick Roberts

11:13 AM, 4th July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Makes u laugh, they moving from the old and outdated benefits system to Universal Credit UC.

So the old system where we could email a HUMAN BEING & get most queries resolved in a few days we've now moved to a modern UC have we? Where u can't talk to anyone & if u know something's wrong, it takes 18 EIGHTEEN months to resolve a complaint with no ZERO money coming in to pay mortgage. Subsequently, tenant becomes homeless. Cause UC is more modern. Good that is.

Amber says: Obviously, landlords may well be affected by the transition of any tenants. The pilot will hopefully consider any issues and look at the best way to support both tenants and landlords through the process.

May be affected? I think she means DEFINITELY.
They will look at supporting us? Where? I can't see any. I can't see any UC staff talking to me. They can't even tell me in an email how much UC they putting in my bank to pay rent cause apparently to say the amount would be unsecure.
They on another planet.

One hope u have is joining Bill at https://universalcreditadvice.com/

and also Sherrelle at Caridon Landlord Solutions. Otherwise u stuffed.

Oh and I see Bill is commenting here too. Yes. In Nottingham, we only have it for new claims, but also the Managed Migration Bill talks about and I have 14 on it so far, 13 with direct payment to me. Who's the Daddy ha ha. But these direct payments have been with help and advice from Bill & Sherrelle

Paul Essex

20:54 PM, 4th July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

I went to one of these seminars and I found a little known fact. UC is a Working Age benefit so after the hassle of UC if your tenant then retires they go back to housing benefit and start a new claim again!


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