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  • LHA/Universal Credit

    Systemic flaws in Universal Credit identified

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    Can I make a suggestion

    Could PT do a video on this topic

    Last week I went to a Food Bank a close friend of mine is a helper there

    Some real hard luck stories there It would be interesting if Axe the Tax could do a visit to a Food Bank and listen and report some true cases

    of hardship

    We as landlords can see the issue and if they were interview along with the victims from UC it might do some good

    Just a thought DL 

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    Learn Change and Adapt ?????

    All comments are for casual information purposes only. If you wish to rely on any advice I have given please ensure you obtain independent specialist advice from a third party. No liability is accepted for comments made.


    Systematic flaws?
    The whole system is useless.

    Here's some extracts from a complaint ICE Independent Case Examiner has decided to take up for a tenant of mine.

    So at the outset, can you please arrange for UC to start paying me ‘cause there is a mortgage on this property & this tenant who lived with me approx 14 years is about to be made homeless-This can be avoided by the simple task of paying me his UC Housing Element direct, as per UC rules.

    He says I’ve sent a UC47 form 24 March 2018. Whoopee Doo, they acknowledge having received one then. That should be them no longer paying the tenant from that date.
    He says it was incomplete. Ok, if it was incomplete, please tell me how?
    Why didn’t they tell me it was incomplete at the time?
    And more importantly, why isn’t he telling me in this letter it is incomplete & try to rectify the incomplete mistake? Hello, we have no rent coming in from 24 March, mortgages don’t grow on trees, mortgage needs paying.

    So 24 March 2018 to now, we are still no closer to being paid.
    I presume and hope that they do know the tenant is in arrears as they have the UC47 form, so they should no longer be paying tenant from that date & all Housing Element HE is owed to me after that date.
    If they have kept paying tenant after that date, which they shouldn't have been, as only the most stupid person on the planet would have done that, then they owe me this missing misplaced HE.

    He tells me he should have told me APA was in incomplete & they made a mistake & uphold that part of my complaint. OK? What now? You paying me the money then? ‘Cause I’ve checked my bank & still no HE gone in from 24.3.18.

    What about compensation? This has cost me £1,000’s in lost time, stress, hassle, inconvenience etc.

    He then says he has asked tenant to request that TENANT AGREES TO THE APA. Hello, is this Sean McGinn a manager? I need a phone call with this Sean when all done to say What was u thinking? Why? Are u silly? Not been to school? Ignorant of UC rules?

    You don’t ask a tenant if the tenant is ok with UC paying the Landlord the UC, ‘cause tenant has been spending the UC. He’s going to ignore you, isn’t he. He can get SOME MORE FREE CASH to spend at the pub.

    Sean then rattles on about Standard Allowance. I’m not on about that here. I’m purely on about the £395 UC HE. I understand Mark has been paid all his UC HE £395 since at least Jan 18.
    What is Sean on about?
    He is on about earnings, Mark didn’t have any earnings since approx Aug 17. I’m talking about the Jan-Jul period. He isn’t telling you any dates. I know the dates Mark was & wasn’t working. Sean is trying to confuse me, you, & I think he’s even confused himself.

    I have my UC47 form dated 24.3.18 & I can see nothing wrong with it. How we ever gonna’ know if UC can see a problem, but they aren't telling us?

    I have a letter from UC dated 17 May 18 asking for my bank details which I filled in & sent back. Have they lost it?
    Also why is the UC47 form wrong he says, but then UC send me 17 May 18 letter asking for bank details? I’ve sent in no other UC47 form. So the UC47 form CAN’T HAVE BEEN WRONG, for them to ask me for the bank details 2 months later.
    Gerry Reardon writes to me 11 May & confirms he has sent UC the UC47 form on 9 April. There is nothing wrong with the UC47 form, as Gerry Reardon is top of the tree complaints apparently in Team 2.

    I’ve sent UC bank details, yet they already have my bank details as they are already paying me for 2 tenants. All this part can be solved just as Housing Benefit HB have been doing for 20 years. Same Landlord, same bank details. Surely UC are not that thick are they?
    If they had lost letter, this could be solved by letting us email bank details, but no, UC is set up to be awkward, time consuming & expensive.

    Sean says this:

    Even if an APA had been in place, £395 would not have been paid directly from UC to you, as the landlord, because Mr Stephenson’s net payment from UC was less than this.

    This is a complete lie. I guess when we prove he has lied, he will say he is referring to Aug 2017 dates, but not telling you the dates. I am not talking about the Aug 17 period as u can quite clearly see from my emails. I am talking about now & the HE £395 rent we need now to pay the mortgage.

    Mr Mark Stephenson the tenant WAS ALWAYS GETTING the HE £395 that UC was mistakenly paying him after I reported arrears.

    Sean says:
    Mr Stephenson has been paid correctly each month and therefore there has been no service error in this part of your complaint
    Mark Stephenson has been mistakenly paid the HE £395 that should have been paid to me, once UC had known about arrears after 24 March 2018.

    UC paid him for a further 2 months.
    What UC don’t know is that I still talk to this tenant to know all this.
    UC also have paid him no HE £395, but are still paying him his normal JSA entitlement. SO why haven’t UC been paying me the HE £395 for at least the last 2 months? Was they planning to keep this as they know their complaints system is horrendous & people give up?

    Sean upholds part of my complaint? And? What has he done about this?

    They need changes bringing in. If I & 2 year old kid, know Landlord has reported arrears, RING THE LANDLORD & sort it out to avoid homeless. How hard would that be?

    Make it simpler & quicker for us to report arrears.
    How come I know the answers to improve UC, but they spending billions & getting it wrong?

    I’ve had advice from Bill Irvine who says UC are constantly not paying Landlords after they have reported arrears.

    UC are only seeing the tenant as the claimant.
    The Landlord is also a customer.

    Where are our rights?

    This is maladministration by UC.

    I have lost rent because of incompetence & delay by DWP UC.

    The two months arrears rule is there to protect the interest of Landlords & to protect the tenant from being evicted.

    UC’s compensation scheme does not say you cannot pay the Landlord compensation.
    If UC apply the scheme properly, we won't be in this position now.

    At the bottom of this email, is my original emails to them. I have to include them here for u to see their UC47 reply that NASA & Einstein couldn’t even understand.

    Universal Credit tenant to be made homeless cause DWP don't reply.

    Very very simple solution. Do what your rules are and pay Landlord. How hard is that?

    I have a tenant who has been with me approx 14 years. No problems at all.

    He is now on Universal Credit through the Govt’s choice & he is about to be evicted. How is that happening?

    I have gone through all the correct procedures emailing the UC47 arrears form which many thousands of Landlords ARE SAYING DOES NOT WORK the majority of the time. Why you cannot learn from Housing Benefit & Local Housing Allowance is beyond me. A 2 year old that didn’t go to Eton college where a lot of MP’s went could do better.
    I have done Stage 1 & 2 complaints through the DWP & UC-No reply. These letters/emails are below this email.

    ICE told me to contact Susan Parks. She hasn’t replied. Nor has Neil Couling. This could make News at Ten. We are getting full UC service coming to Nottingham Oct 2018. Can you imagine the Homeless bill then!

    Enclosed is letter UC HAS SENT TO TENANT. What is that going to solve. Surely UC & DWP are not that thick to not realise it’s in the tenants best interest to not reply to u, as you will keep paying him all that Taxpayers FREE MONEY free rent, so he can keep spending it on himself.

    So Esther, what now? Who is paying the mortgage on this house? You in Govt need to wake up. The harder you make if for Landlord, the harder you make it for tenant. We struggle, they struggle. You will realise that one day. Poverty & Homeless figures shooting up. 2 year old kid could solve it again.
    These are peoples lives you are playing with.

    ICE, you say to come to you, we have to have referral from Stage 2 complaints. What if Stage 2 don't reply? That means you never get to hear about complaint ‘cause Stage 2 might as well never reply. They rubbing their hands in Glee. This Process needs changing.

    I’m on the phone if u need me & contactable believe it or not if you believe that UC letter enclosed. Which by the way asks for my bank details when you are in fact paying ME ALREADY for other tenants, And HB can pay me JUST LIKE THAT with new tenant & have been doing for 20 years as they already have bank details. Why has UC gone back in time 20 years?

    Tenant above has not paid last 5 months rent Universal Credit have been paying him. That’s clever isn’t it, Taxpayers money you are letting them spend.

    So I started reporting arrears after the first 2 months. You didn’t reply. I reported again. And again And again. As have many Landlords. You are contributing MASSIVELY to the homeless situation in this country.

    What is the WORSE THAT COULD  HAPPEN IF YOU PAY THE LANDLORD THE RENT?

    The worse?
    Bingo, you’ve guessed it, tenant don’t get evicted. Not rocket science is it.

    I’ve done all the things I’m required to do & I’ve still not had ANY REPLY WHATSOEVER.
    I’ve done stage 1 & 2 complaints, but no response.

    I’ve been told by Bill Irvine of UC Advice, I want a formal response from one of the Regional directors about my complaint & all my owed compensation as I wish to take this to ICE.

    You owe me the last 3 months rent after I reported arrears. I believe you cannot pay for the same benefit period twice, so please pay this as compensation.

    You are all over the news. It is SO EASY to solve the problem.
    Just pay the Landlord the benefit due for what is it intended for to pay the rent to pay the mortgage. How hard is that? Easy Peasy.

    We don’t pay the mortgage, we both lose the house. It is so easy to correct, this part of UC.

    Please see below the UC47 reply when they finally did reply if you could give it to NASA scientists to decipher.

    And also below this email, other emails sent to which I am still waiting for answers since Nov 2017. Shocking. You have my bank details. Why do you ask for them again?
    Can’t you learn from HB LHA mistakes?

    Thank you for your enquiry.

    This email address is only for Landlords to use when requesting a Managed Payment of housing costs or rent arrears or both from Universal Credit.

    For all other housing enquires please use the Housing email address UC.SERVICECENTREHOUSING@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK

    In order to process your enquiry we require a fully completed ÏSecure or Ð Non Secure UC47 request form.

    If you have sent a ÏSecure UC47 form to this email box from a Ð Non Secure email address we will not process it as it does not comply with Data Protection legislation and your email and form will be deleted. A secure email address is one that includes GSI, GCSX, GSX, CJX, CJSM, GOV.UK, GOV.SCOT or GSE. This is to minimise the risk of sensitive information being intercepted and misused. If you do not have a secure email address and have completed a ÏSecure UC47 request form then please complete the Ð Non Secure UC47 form and resend.

    Alternatively you can send the completed ÏSecure UC47 form to: FREEPOST DWP UNIVERSAL CREDIT LIVE SERVICE.

    Once the completed form is received a decision will be made whether or not to make a Managed Payment of housing costs, arrears deductions or both. We endeavour to action your request prior to the end of the assessment period.

    Complaint Stage 2

     
    So now you owe me 2 x £395 = £790. This is without the 1st 2 months he had of tax payers money £790, so he’s now had £1,580 of Taxpayers money-Why don’t you tell the Newspapers?
    Plus compensation for my time & trouble, stress, inconvenience, hassle, worry etc.

    I sent u APA UC47 arrears form over 2 weeks ago. I’ve not heard anything.

    Please tell me you haven’t paid the tenant again? If you have, then please forward me the amount you have paid him for the Housing Element plus compensation for my time, trouble, stress, inconvenience, worry, loss of funds having to borrow from elsewhere to pay mortgage.

    I’ve been asking these since Nov 17 & years before, but now keeping log, as still can’t believe you haven’t solved these simple things.

    If Housing Benefit have got it right for last 10 years, why can’t you? I and YOU could solve maybe 20% of homeless problem with this one SWIFT move. Give us phone number to report arrears, you suspend, you pay us the Landlord instantly the Housing Element HE Job done. How hard is that? Simples. My 3 year old DOG could sort it out. Why can’t you?

    What’s the worst that could happen if you pay the Landlord the ‘RENT’ which pays the mortgage that keeps roof over the UC tenants head?

    What could happen if you did that? Tsunami? Earthquake? House fall down?

    And now what could & what does & what will happen if you keep paying tenant the HE that he spends & don’t give the Landlord? You couldn’t make it up, could you. Please don’t tell me you are that unintelligent?

    Right then, past unanswered unsolved problems you have:

    UC are already paying me for 2 tenants, why can't they find me from there & use my bank details to speed things up?

    Why don't they ask for my bank details on the UC47 form? We're asking to pay us, so get it on the ruddy letter.

    Why are we getting money in bank & not having a clue who's it from?
    Why are we getting UC letter 5 days after it's gone in bank? When HB send email 2 days before?

    Why are UC asking for this creditor reference number saying it's on your payslip when we filling the UC47 form in cause we not ruddy being paid?
    If you say on existing tenants, well there is nothing on there.

    I've got 70+ house in Nottingham soon going on Universal credit in Octoberish.
    Why don't UC do what HB do & pay 10 20 30 people at same time?
    HB pay for 20 tenants in one bank payment-One simple transaction. Cheaper for u too. Plus we get the schedule 3 days before payment goes in, so we know what is going in & what isn’t. Why aren’t UC doing this?
    Can you imagine how long UC is going to make my bank statement?

    Why won’t or don’t you confirm to me as soon as you have received the UC47 form to say you have it, don’t worry, you ain’t paying it to tenant any more, so we can relax a bit?

    Why isn’t this standard automatic procedure?

     
    Why won’t or don’t you confirm to me as soon as you have received the UC47 form to say you have it, don’t worry, you ain’t paying it to tenant any more, so we can relax a bit?

    Why isn’t this standard automatic procedure?

    I sent you this UC 47 form by email 4 Nov 17. Why has it took you THREE weeks to ask for my bank details?

    Why don’t you use common sense & see the existing claims I have with yourself TO SEE THAT YOU ALREADY HAVE MY BANK DETAILS.

    Why are you asking for my bank details again?
    Why can’t you ask for my bank details on the UC47 form? Do you not agree this would save lots of time?
    How much longer would you like to delay this?
    So tenant is already over 8 weeks in arrears 27 Oct.
    You delay things by not doing the common sense things above, her next Housing element ‘rent’ is due 27 Nov. Do you know what date it is today?
    Who’s paying the mortgage? Not rocket science is it.
    My 5 year old kid could run this process better.

    Please don’t tell me the above is policy. Why not? Tell the policy makers this needs changing. Go learn off Housing Benefit & Local Housing Allowance. The mistakes they have made & corrected, you are now doing & it’s costing millions of pounds & man hours to you, the Govt, DWP, UC, Me, tenants.
    You can solve this in one swoop by asking HB about the problems direct payment caused when LHA came in, in 2008. And how most councils solved that about 4 years later.
    Don’t you learn from history?

    You haven’t replied to my 28th Oct 17 letter-Why not?

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    Mick despite all the problems you have with UC doesn't this prove you are letting to feckless tenants and is it worth bothering with these tenant types anymore!?

    Clearly these tenants are spending your rent money.

    Why don't you just evict them because they are stealing from you?

    I would make it plain to these feckless tenants of yours.

    If they fail to pass on any UC for the full contractual rent then you will evict them at some stage.

    Eviction may not occur immediately but you assure them that they will be evicted once everything is sorted.

    Failing to pass on rent when they receive any UC is tantamount to stealing.

    What they should be saying is

    Here Mick is all the UC I have which is just about enough to pay the rent but now I have nothing left.

    How will I eat and heat the property?

    I'm sure you Mick would then say OK what I will do is lend you £100 but that is to be kept quiet.

    You then need to go to social services and state you have paid rent but now have no other benefits due to UC delays.

    They will have to provide for you.

    They should not say well its your fault if you used all your UC money to pay the rent!!

    Your tenants fail to do the honourable thing.

    They put eating and heating ahead of paying the rent

    It is rent that is the most important payment to be made.

    Perhaps you should start issuing S21 to all those feckless tenants of yours who have failed to pay you rent and who have spent it on themselves.

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    Yes Paul,

    Problem is, I've had some of 'em with me 20 years & I'm not one for chucking 'em out unless they right pain. This scenario after the first two months not this blokes fault.
    This tenant now gold-dust once direct payment starts. If it starts ha ha.

    I did expect natural wastage over the next 5 10 years or so of tenants leaving me, doing house up & getting top class Letting agent tenants in. Problem is 'cause of all the Govt attacks on Landlords & UC attacks & Selective Licensing etc., Landlords in Nottingham are selling, no landlords are taking HB tenants any more, so I'm stuck with 'em.

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    Hi Vanessa

    The CPAG article is important as it shifts the debate from policy to operational issues and the adverse impact DWP’s delays & poor decisions are having on individuals and landlords. Its case examples are drawn from claimant advisors, from all parts of the UK and mirror my own experiences, representing the interests of PRS & Social landlords. Neil Couling’s defense that there are less registered complaints concerning UC than JSA is probably correct, but it's also quite misleading. UC is only 10% along the way of its rollout programme, with 70% of cases relating to single claimants, with more than 50% of these with no housing costs. So, only the simplest of cases.

    In fact, Mr Couling admitted as much, during W & P Committee questioning, last week, when he acknowledged the next phase of the rollout, included more complex cases, managed migration of legacy claims from people currently claiming JSA, IS, HB/LHA, etc. adding 6 million more UCFS claimants, will be the most challenging time for DWP. 

    In terms of complaints, DWP is again being misleading. Genuine complaints, made by phone, e-mail and Job Centre Plus visits are not being registered as “complaints”. Complaints are registered only when a claimant or landlord makes a formal stage 1 complaint, by inserting this into the subject matter of their e-mail or, in the case of claimant - online journal. DWP is failing to respond respond within its published timescales of 15 working days. Its staff are being encouraged to call complainants, in an effort to resolve issues (nothing wrong with that), but the complainant doesn’t receive a formal written reply, unless they specifically ask, which I believe is wrong. In all cases, whether the complaint is successful, partially so, or rejected, DWP should issue an outcome letter, including at the end of the letter an escalation path to Stage 2 or Independent Case Examiner (stage 3, first external part of process). The failure to provide an automatic letter is clearly intended to curb the likelihood of further complaints and give DWP's hierarchy, like Mr Couling, the opportunity to mislead Ministers and Parliament as to the true level of dissatisfaction. But what he can't deny is fact! Each of the complaints, I’ve made to ICE, have taken, on average ¾ moths, whereas, the timescale DWP promised is Stage 1 - 15 days & Stage 2 - further 15 days.

    In terms of Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs) or Managed Payments to Landlords (MPTL) the situation is still dire with landlords losing rental income hand-over-fist.

    • Important to note, DWP recently changed the process for landlords who don't have "secure e-mails" by insisting that applications made on the grounds of Tier 1 or 2 must now be made by POST using the "SECURE" version of the form. The RLA and I, only became aware of this by chance and we suspect most landlords, including the majority of Housing Associations and Housing Co-ops, won't be aware of this change. This, in turn, could lead to MPTL requests, being simply rejected or ignored because the wrong form and mode of delivery have been used.
    • The current process on GOV.UK does not prompt a private landlord about the update. So the first question is still ‘Do you have a secure email in the following format gsi etc’ to which many landlords will click ‘no’. It then does not divert them back if applying for Tier 1  / Tier 2 criteria to the secure form. This is relying totally on the landlord having read the new guidance.
    • We also know, there's currently a 6/8 week wait for Tier 1  / 2 electronic applications for direct payment to be processed. If we add to that, the need to post the application and supporting evidence, this can only delay things further. So, the waiting period for that first MPTL will definitely increase, rather than reduce.
    • Over the past few years the RLA and I have been inundated with complaints about applications and evidence going missing. That's unlikely to improve with this new process. Beggars belief, DWP in 2018 needs to revert to POST!

    Where claimants/landlords wish to appeal a decision, the first stage requires what is called a “Mandatory Reconsideration”. This enables the Decision Maker to look again at the decision and either revise partially or wholly in favour of the appellant or confirm the original decision should stand. DWP is wrongly insisting on its own online application form being used when there's nothing to stop an appellant asking for this over the phone, by e-mail, through their journal or by letter. DWP is also refusing to issue a formal written response to an MR request, until this is specifically requested by the appellant. I believe DWP’s refusal to provide an automatic written reply to the MR is not only wrong, maybe illegal, and is part of an overall strategy to frustrate aggrieved claimants/landlords from appealing to the Independent Tribunal Service and so, give the impression, everything is hunky-dory, when clearly it's not!

    Bill Irvine

    UC Advice & Advocacy ltd

    https://www.ucadvice.co.uk


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    Thousands of people claiming Universal Credit have taken out emergency loans amid fears the Government’s flagship benefit is plunging families into debt, HuffPost UK has found.

    The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed through a Freedom of Information request that almost 70,000 claimants have used a so-called Budgeting Advance – an early payment of their welfare cheque to pay for unexpected costs.

    The figures, from April last year to March this year, only include the parts of the country where Universal Credit, which brings six benefits into one single payment, has been rolled out fully.

    Full/source article

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