Will rent increase trigger UC application?

by Readers Question

9:56 AM, 17th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Will rent increase trigger UC application?

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Will rent increase trigger UC application?

I haven’t increased the rent on a flat in over 7 years as there have been no issues with the tenant and he is very settled.

However, to be in line with flats in the rest of the block I’m going to have to increase the rent a little (£50 a month) but it will still be under the one bed LHA rate for the area.

The tenant is receiving full Housing Benefit for the rent still so do I assume its a case of just sending him details/notice of such as he notifies the Council and its all sorted, or will this be the (dreaded) situation of a change in circumstance now triggering a Universal Credit application?

Many thanks

Reluctant Landlord



Comments

Bill irvine

11:15 AM, 17th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Hi Reluctant landlord,

Firstly, only tenants of “working age” need to migrate, at some point, to Universal Credit.

As your tenant’s already claiming Housing Benefit the change in rent charge wouldn’t in itself prompt a need to claim UC. All your tenant need do is notify the Council of the new charge and is should “supersede” the existing eligible rent.

Having said that, some councils are wrongly advising tenants of working age to make a claim for UC on the basis “they will need to do so at some point”. However, tenants who make such a claim will NOT be covered by Transitional Protection (TP) so if they move and find UC less generous they will not receive TP to offset loss.

Bill Irvine

Laura Delow

14:22 PM, 17th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Bill irvine at 17/02/2020 - 11:15
Good advice Bill which I shall also bear in mind to advise my HB tenants.

Bill irvine

14:50 PM, 17th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Hi Laura
I would definitely advise any tenant currently claiming any legacy benefits (e.g. Income Support, ESA, JSA, Tax Credits and/or Housing Benefit/LHA to seek advice before claiming UC voluntarily.
For most tenants, who don't experience any significant change in circumstances, I would recommend they hold fire until they receive a Managed Migration Notice (MMN). This process is due to start, later this year. We still don't know, at this stage, which areas will start the process. I suspect they'll start in the same areas that first moved to "Full Service" when claimants were obliged to make their claim online and utilise their own "online Journal". If I'm correct, parts of London, Manchester, Liverpool etc. may go first.
You can find out more about this process in one of my members' bulletins - https://universalcreditadvice.com/articles/universal-credit-rollout-continues-at-rate-of-130000-new-case-per-month-2/
Property118 members invested in LHA/Universal Credit should also be interested in an earlier bulletin https://universalcreditadvice.com/news/universal-credit-how-tenancy-start-and-end-dates-can-affect-tenant-awards/ which explains how DWP operates on a calendar monthly basis and applies what is commonly referred to as "the whole month rule"!
Many experienced HB/LHA landlords are finding the rules on UC are significantly different to LHA. So, best to get yourself educated on the key elements of the new scheme to safeguard your investment.
Bill

raj beri

8:00 AM, 22nd February 2020
About a month ago

Great advise as always Bill.

Just one thing to ask. When you say "tenants should seek advice before claiming UC voluntarily", who should they be getting genuine advice from?

A few of my tenant have sought advice from JobCentre Plus......who advised they should apply for UC, when they didn't have to!

Bill irvine

9:18 AM, 22nd February 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by raj beri at 22/02/2020 - 08:00
Hi Raj

There are many organisations (councils, housing associations, charitable, voluntary, welfare rights, money advice, law centres) that offer free independent advice to benefit claimants. Check with your local Citizens Advice Bureau or try your local council’s housing or social service departments.

Housing Benefit sections should be able to provide such advice, but, beware, as Council funding is being reduced, due to HB/LHA being replaced by UC for working age tenants.

Bill

JuliaL

14:08 PM, 23rd February 2020
About a month ago

I put the rent up a few months ago, I receive rent direct from housing for her, ( she is also a pensioner). I didn't hear from them and she didn't receive a letter from them for a couple of months then when I checked my account the rent had automatically gone up. Good luck. I put the rent up by £30 per month, I hadn't put it up for a few years before that.

WP

17:11 PM, 23rd February 2020
About a month ago

Thanks for the advice Bill. This tenant is over working age (post 60), so it seems this wont trigger a UC migration. (but I will advise him not to agree if he gets pressured to move to it by Housing)

Bill irvine

17:31 PM, 23rd February 2020
About a month ago

Hi WP
Working age includes claimants up to the age of 66 (not, 60 as it used to be, only a few years ago). In the case of couples, making a new claim, if the younger partner is under pensionable, the couple require to claim UC, rather that Housing Benefit. explain this in more detail in one of my members' bulletins https://universalcreditadvice.com/bulletins/mixed-aged-couples-pension-or-universal-credit/

Bill


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