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  • LHA/Universal Credit

    First universal credit tenant!!!

    We have had our first universal credit payment, they have lived in the flat for 4 week and then got there payment and left! Under the old system this couldn't happen as the council would send a cheque to tanant in landlords.name for anything over 2 weeks.
    This to me seems like a scam that tenants could soon latch on too, and I am not yet clear who this if anyone can be reported too. Has anyone had a similar experience?
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    Stephen Coles Dip RLPM

    Coles Property Management

    32 Lune Grove

    Blackpool

    FY1 5LE

    01253 291816

    07967 561210

    Sign up to LandlordRefercing.co.uk if we all used it, then tenants would only getaway with this once.
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    Trouble is ian there are almost all the LL out there who think they are too clever by half and therefore don't need to use a lifestyle referencing service.
    That is why LRS has very few members.
    I hope such LL are hoisted by their own petards and are bankrupted
    It is about time LL realised they need to stick together and not regard eachother as competitors for tenant business.
    Inevitably wrongun tenants will just move from dopey LL to dopey LL
    Only by networking with eachother can we truly prevent the wronguns from affecting out business
    Join LRS today and exterminate wronguns!!!
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    CPM,

    Firstly, I'm sorry to hear of your problems with Universal Credit (UC) and associated rent loss. I'm afraid there is no similar provision currently built into UC. In fact, the DWP default position is "pay the tenant" so he/she can assume responsibility for his/her own budgeting.

    You'll recall there was a similar political mantra being applied between April 2008 and 2011 with Local Housing Allowance (LHA). During that same period rent arrears in the private soared, with many landlords providing accommodation to "benefit" withdrawing from the sector in order to protect their business.

    Many worked through the financial storm until in late 2010 and early 2011 the DWP relented to the pressure exerted by the same landlords and their representative bodies - RLA, NAL, SAL, ARLA etc by having an LHA Inquiry at Westminster.

    I gave evidence to the Inquiry on behalf of the Scottish Landlords and focused on making that "first cheque payable to landlords" as, in many cases, the amount of money involved was considerable. The Committee accepted my evidence and later in April 2011 the DWP issued an HB Circular to all UK councils recommending they make such payments where the amount involved exceeded £100. Since that date, most councils have been complying with the DWP guidance, thus avoiding further misuse of payments designed to extinguish or at least reduce the rental liability.

    The provision to make the first cheque payable to the landlord, was and still is, as far as LHA is concerned, a quite separate provision to ongoing "safeguarding". UC does include provision for "Alternative Payment Arrangements"(APAs) - a way of asking for the "housing element" to be redirected to landlords from day one, but DWP is currently struggling to cope with this new provision, with landlords (social & private) sometimes losing out in the process.

    More and more Private Landlords are starting to experience "single" tenants moving over onto UC and are beginning to realise that dealing with the DWP is completely different to corresponding with councils. The DWP administration is remote, ambivalent and extremely frustrating to deal with. The "rights of landlords" as "persons affected" under LHA, don't apply to UC. Neither is there a right of appeal when requests for APAs are refused. Tenant mandates authorising landlord access to claim data/information are being ignored by DWP staff on the basis there is a conflict of interest where landlords are concerned. Claims for "APAs" need to be supported with "Third Party" evidence and/or detailed rent statements demonstrating 2 months rent arrears etc. Even when this has been supplied, payments have still been paid to tenants and misused. In those cases, Landlords should be making complaints and pursuing compensation for their loss but you need to know how best to do this. Referring cases to the LGO doesn't work under UC as the LGO doesn't have jurisdiction. The appeal process for tenants is also very different. As is, the reporting and effect of changes in tenant's circumstances, due to what is known as the "whole month rule".

    If you're currently involved with the LHA market, you need to get yourself quickly up to speed with the key aspects of UC, so you're prepared and ready for those first tenants moving over. Don't leave things to chance. If you do, like CPM, you'll get burnt; of that there is no doubt!

    The problems currently being encountered and addressed will lessen as time passes, just as it did with LHA in 2011 but during the interim period you need to be able to act decisively to protect your tenants and your business. Do that ASAP!

    Bill Irvine
    UC Advice & Advocacy
    https://www.ucadvice.co.uk
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    (04-04-2015 08:49 AM)bill_irvine Wrote:  If you're currently involved with the LHA market, you need to get yourself quickly up to speed with the key aspects of UC,
    The problems currently being encountered and addressed will lessen as time passes,

    Bill

    With the election a few weeks away do you have a view on what will happen to UC if Labour win the day and hold the reins of power. Is UC too far down the road now to be pulled or is there a chance Labour will move to reverse IDS`s troubled project and they will stick with LHA
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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    Very valuable advice. Thank you Bill.

    We have a huge thread about direct payments for Universal Credit >>> here.
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    Vanessa,

    Your subscribers can find out more about Universal Credit by examining https://universalcreditadvice.com/private...s-affected

    I have also opened up my website https://www.ucadvice.co.uk to non-members, over the holiday weekend, so they can examine other recent bulletins, covering similar UC topics as well as other parts of the site. I hope they find the information of interest.

    Landlords experiencing any such difficulties with Universal credit and/or LHA can also write to me bill@ucadvice.co.uk. I'll be happy to provide advice and assistance if this is deemed necessary.

    Bill Irvine
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    @Bill Irvine
    I would like to go on record to thank you for the free information and advice you post here and on your website. It is valuable knowledge that many of us need to be aware of.

    Geoff
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    Geoff

    I appreciate your supportive comments.

    Much of the advice I provide is, as you say, free but I also charge for membership of website and operate on a No win, No fee basis, where landlords need my assistance to resolve issues either at council/VOA/DWP or tribunal level.

    I might add, I rarely fail to secure a result.

    Contact me through the website or bill@ucadvice.Co. uk

    Bill
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    Until the full HB rent is removed from the UC FIRST!! Then it will be a nightmare for a LL
    The HB element of UC might be £50 taking into account the OBC and refusal of the benefit scrounger to work 16 hrs to avoid the OBC
    So what if the LL can claim the HB element of UC!?
    That is of no use to a LL!
    The UC regulations should state that in the event of HB arrears that the FULL HB will be deducted from the UC FIRST and paid to the LL
    Or rather that the FULL rent should be deducted FIRST
    It clearly states in the UC regs that only the HB element will be paid to LL if the tenants defaults
    NOWHERE in the UC regulations does it state the full rent will be paid
    Which is the reason I won't take on HB tenants
    The UC regulations are pathetic and make it even more difficult if not impossible to recover FULL rent arrears over a reasonable period of say 6 months
    The LHA Regs are far superior to the UC ones
    Pragmatic LL will just continue to exit the HB market
    UC as a principle is an excellent idea
    It is just the regulations that have been poorly thought out
    It still allows tenants to get away with spending HB and not to have to repay the LL
    I am very surprised that a Tory govt has effectively drafted regs that allow the feckless to get away with it STILL!!!
    All us LL want is to be paid the contractual rent by HB tenants
    The regulations continue to frustrate this simple concept whilst allowing the feckless to spend our rent money on things other than our rent!!!
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    Universal Credit is in place so that tenants can manage their own finances as if they were working. Landlords should manage UC tenants as if they were working and require a months deposit and a months rent in advance. Then IDS can decide what to do with the homeless UC claimants, simples.
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