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Does any one have any advice or tips how to sign up a UC tenant without them pocketing the rent ?
Hi Gary,This thread might provide some useful insights >>> Benefits tenants: tips and tricks?
Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **If you have got value from Property Tribes, find out how you can support it in remaining a free to use community resource**
I have in the past done all the right things (1) got a months rent in advance and a bond guarantee from the local council that covers the bond (2) stated the tenancy won't proceed unless the rent is paid directly to the landlord and signed the form for this to happen (3) insisted that a tenancy support officer is assigned to the tenant in the case of difficulty getting direct communications with UC in the event of any problems - she was (4) got the tenant to sign a waiver stating the tenant's permission for me to talk with (a) the local council (b) Universal Credit about the tenant's claim - this proved necessary (5) went personally with the tenant into the jobcentre, met the tenant's Job Centre "handler" and gotten personal assurance that the claim is going through without any problem. Nevertheless, the claim took a long time to come through and when it did it was paid smoothly .....Until!
About 16 months into the claim the UC administrators peremptorily closed the tenant's claim. He didn't know what he had done to deserve the closure. Then began a game to get it opened again. It took them two months and they paid one month's rent! Four months later I am still a month's rent down. The job centre staff (the only people who can be contacted in person) don't care! They refer the tenant to anonymous, dysfunctional online services. With enormous help, the tenant has been offered a loan that the support worker says he can't afford to repay so that he (wisely) hasn't borrowed (more! - he's already having deductions taken from his benefit.)
Note that this is the best of all circumstances because there is no ill-will from the tenant's part who could all of his own accord close down the rent claim without the help of dysfunctional UC processes. I've now twice involved the MP on this tenancy. There is no UC person of authority provided to talk to. The tenant is stressed because he thinks he'll lose his home. The system appears structurally discriminating against claimants.
So in answer to your question, Gary: Of course you want to be sure about your tenant - also, is this someone you can navigate difficult waters with if need be? Then watch the excellent Ken Loach film "I Daniel Blake". Ken Loach had his finger on the pulse when he first made Cathy Come Home all that time ago, now he's hit the target again. I've just come across I Daniel Blake. It won a 2017 Palme d'Or, apparently.
Even with housing element of UC paid to landlord - there remains the potential reclaim thereof if there is an issue with the tenant's UC claim IIRC.
If I Remember Correctly
Omega Property (Formerly SBS Ltd.)
I am not professionally trained to give advice, generally posting for the benefit of the community or my own personal development.