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  • LHA/Universal Credit

    THREE out of FOUR tenants on UC in arrears

    Researchers have called for UC to be reviewed as more than a quarter on the new benefit are in rent arrears.

    This article is a "must read".

    Three in four tenants on UC are in rent arrears

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    Hi,

    Here's the article Sherrelle is referring to|:

    'Three in four Universal Credit tenants in arrears'

    Social housing representative bodies are calling on the government to review Universal Credit as new research finds more than three quarters of tenants are in rent arrears.

    The National Federation of Arm’s Length Management Organisations (NFA) and the Association for Retained Council Housing (ARCH) published the findings of their latest survey of councils and ALMOs today which found one year on from the rollout of Universal Credit across England 79% of around 3,000 tenants that are on UC are in rent arrears compared to 31% of other tenants.

    The NFA and ARCH are due to meet with Lord Freud, minister for welfare reform, today and will call for the government to abandon the seven day waiting period for Universal Credit, review the in-arrearspolicy to see if this is causing “unnecessary hardship and long term disadvantage” for UC entitlement and speed up the UC assessment process to three weeks.

    The organisations surveyed the same 20 councils and ALMOs it got responses from nclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onkeypress="window.open(this.href);return false;">in a similar survey at the end of last year.

    The previous survey found 89% of tenants were in arrears compared to 79% in the latest survey. The report adds: “However households in receipt of UC remain much more likely to be in arrears and also have, on average, larger levels of arrears than tenants in general”.

    All respondents said the six-week period before a tenant receives their first UC payment is “very frequently or frequently a factor in claimants falling into arrears”.

    The report said: “It looks likely that many claimants simply do not have sufficient savings (including their last pay cheque) to get them through this period”.

    On average tenants on UC owe £321.05, higher than the average for all tenants in arrears which is £294.57.

    Respondents also said they are seeing an increase in demand for money and debt advice services,food banks and hardship funds.

    Several respondents said they had noticed tenants increasingly using loan sharks and pay day loan companies.

    Hugh Broadbent, chair of the NFA said: ‘‘We look forward to sharing our findings later today with Lord Freud…Our concerns are heightened in situations where the claimant was not in paid employment immediately prior to submitting a claim for UC, for example where previous benefits have been sanctioned or adjusted.”

    John Bibby, chief executive of ARCH said: “A review of current policy is imperative if we are to reduce unnecessary hardship within our communities.”

    A DWP spokesman said: “As this report makes clear, the proportion of households in arrears has fallen and around half were already behind with their rent before their Universal Credit claim started.

    “Our evidence shows that the majority of Universal Credit claimants are comfortable managing their budgets and we continue to work closely with landlords, Local Authorities and other organisations to ensure claimants are supported. Budgeting advice, direct rent payments to landlords and benefit advances can be provided for those who need them.”

    ENDS

    The report confirms my own experiences, dealing with both private and social landlords all over the UK. The new system is fraught with:

    a) Claims made online disappearing; and

    b) Delays in assessment and payment of claims;

    c) Tenants failing to alert the DWP to the fact they have "housing costs" as they're unaware of their Housing Benefit will no longer exist under Universal Credit;

    d) DWP staff failing to enquire about rent arrears or "vulnerabilities", at the first interview stage, and so missing the opportunity to redirect "housing costs" to the landlord;

    e) Problems associated with Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs); not susspending payment before making a decision as to who should receive payment; paying the tenant after advising the landlord to expect payment. Accepting maladministration of its own APA scheme but refusing to recompense landlords for its own mistakes in this regard.

    f) Tenants leaving the property at the end of their "Benefit Assessment Period" (BAP)  and receiving NO housing costs for the property they've just left.

    I could go on at length at just how frustrated landlords/agents, and I am, with this new seriously flawed system. Have a look at some of my articles on https://www.ucadice.co.uk

    Bill Irvine

    UC Advice & Advocacy Ltd

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    OVER a third of private landlords with tenants receiving Universal Credit have said that they are now in rent arrears, up by over 10 percentage points since last year.

    According to a recent survey by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) of almost 3,000 landlords, of those with Universal Credit claimants as tenants, 38 per cent reported experiencing tenants going into rent arrears. In February 2016 that figure was 27 per cent.

    The RLA’s research has found that the average amount owed in rent arrears by Universal Credit tenants to private sector landlords is now £1,150.

    With the Government set to increase the pace at which the Credit is rolled out across the country from next month, the RLA is warning of a ticking time bomb without urgent reforms.

    Among the changes it is calling for are measures to cut the seven week period that claimants have to wait before they can begin to receive Universal Credit and measures to make it easier and quicker for payments to be made directly to the landlord where tenant arrears are building up.

    RLA Vice Chairman, Chris Town, said:

    “Whilst we continue to welcome the principle of simplifying the benefit system, it cannot be right that as it is currently designed, Universal Credit is leading many more tenants into rent arrears. This is not financially responsible and does nothing to encourage landlords to house people needing to claim benefit.

    “We have already met with the Minister and are heartened that the Department understands the need to address the problem of rent arrears. With just weeks to go before the roll out of Universal Credit gathers pace we need action sooner rather than later".

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    I have had my first tenant  moved across to UC this year

    No one even  told me  - it just happened behind my back

    My Balance sheet for 2017 looks like this:

    Jan   £606.50    ( LHA paid direct to me )

    Feb   £606.50    ( LHA paid direct to me )

    Mar   £606.50     ( LHA paid direct to me )

    Apr   £606.50      ( LHA paid direct to me )

    May   £606.50     ( LHA paid direct to me )

    June  NIL          

    July   NiL

    Aug   Nil

    Guess which month it moved to UC

    Its a disgrace

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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com


    Update...................................

    Jan   £606.50    ( LHA paid direct to me )

    Feb   £606.50    ( LHA paid direct to me )

    Mar   £606.50     ( LHA paid direct to me )

    Apr   £606.50      ( LHA paid direct to me )

    May   £606.50     ( LHA paid direct to me )

    June  NIL        

    July   NiL

    Aug   Nil

    Sept  Nil       ( but £300 direct to tenant ) 

    But tenant  has a serious drink problem.  She knows this and I know this and so does the government

    She said when the money hits her account she would meet me at the cash point so I could take the cash to prevent her falling back into the demon of drink as she wants to keep on the wagon and thereby keep her kids .

    She didn't text me she didnt meet me. I feared the worse.

    £300 of taxpayers money in the hands of an alcoholic with an off licence just around the corner .

    Spells danger

    They all had a party funded by the taxpayer

    I went there the next day . The place was littered with empties. Holes in the doors. Blood on the floor

    She had been arrested  the night before . In court in 2 weeks

    Sec 21 served . Its her fault but its not her fault  . Shes an addict

    UC has set her up to fail and given her money but zero support

    The Telegraph has an article today about UC being thrown into chaos

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/...-tory-mps/

    Tory rebellion throws Universal Credit reforms into chaos

    ``The Government's flagship welfare reforms have been thrown into jeopardy after 12 Conservative MPs wrote a private letter to the Work and Pensions Secretary demanding a pause in the roll-out of Universal Credit.``

    My first transition from LHA to UC has been an unmitigated disaster

    Its just one real live   example of  how UC is simply not fit for purpose

    Its a disgrace

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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com


    This is the very reason I just don't want DHSS Customers

    I have had similar experience  95% of all my arrears last year were from DHSS customers

    and on top of the fact I can get a higher rent from working tenant's with a lot less stress and heartache chasing a customer who is poor and living day to day hand  to mouth

    I just turn out my property at a higher standard and I have no problems renting anything I own

    My own feeling as I have said before is UC is a no winner for the PRS your rents will fall due to inflation with the LHA Cap

    No business with sense would take a customer who is paying less with every year when the Business costs are rising just at the time when you need more cash flow to pay

    higher taxes

    even with out S24 I would have still avoided UC with S24 I have no option other to avoid it.

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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.


    Jonathan

    It is nothing short of scandalous what's happening and, as you’ll have gathered with all the recent adverse publicity, the situation is likely to get much worse as Universal Credit's Full or Digital Service is expanded to all parts of the UK between now and October.

    Why?

    DWP’s senior management is making a pig’s ear of its administration, especially where it relates to “housing costs” and contrary to its mantra of “test & learn” it’s now embarking on a “hell for leather” approach which is causing lengthy delays, undoubted hardship to tenants, and complete and utter frustration to those landlords that provide “social housing” to benefit recipients.

    Today’s Work& pensions hearing will give you a true flavour of what’s been happening in Full Service areas. https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index...010bbf945d

    Neil Couling, Director General, Universal Credit implementation is well aware of what's happening but chooses to play everything down, blame the victims for not completing their claims properly and suggesting “landlords” are simply exaggerating the extent of the problem. His response to my open letter has been widely circulated and heavily criticised, on a variety of landlord & welfare rights forums, as downright patronising and completely at odds with the facts, presented in numerous reports, including one from the House of Commons Researchers, demanding a suspension of its rollout until its fit for purpose. Despite the mounting criticism DWP is pressing on regardless.

    More than 2 years ago now, Mr Couling and his Depute Director, Mike Baker acknowledged  PRS landlords, had rights, including the ability to complain, request compensation for rental loss, caused by DWP maladministration and actually provided recompense in recognition of the rental losses being experienced by some of my RSL clients. However, as the number of such complaints increased Mr Couling and his Policy Unit instructed their Complaints & Resolution Teams (CRT) that compensation was NOT appropriate, as the loss of rent was a landlord/tenant issue, which the landlord could pursue through the courts.

    The RLA has been actively advocating the case for change and has provided invaluable help to me in the complaints I’ve been raising on behalf of my clients. Caridon Landlord Solutions and I have highlighted a number of APA horror stories which are now being referred to the Independent Case Examiner (ICE). This is the 3rd stage in the Complaints Process but importantly, the first stage where an independent view applies. ICE has just reported on its past year complaint referrals, involving DWP and has supported nearly 70% of complaints either partially or wholly. If that’s not an indictment on DWP’s administration of state benefits, what is?

    Interestingly, Mr Couling seizes on the comments made by ICE which suggest the numbers of Universal Credit complaints are lower than expected. Such a view conveniently ignores the fact, UC’s delivery, as things stand, will take 5 years more than expected; its complaints process, as far as APAs are concerned, is a complete and utter sham. The CRT staff trying to administer this aspect of the complaints process are finding it impossible to progress landlords’ complaints properly for fear of breaching data protection and/or “client confidentiality” due to the shackles caused by an insistence on “explicit consent” from the tenant. The situation is completely absurd with some tenants having repeatedly misused the “housing element”, funds from the public purse to the tune of £16K per claim in places like Croydon.

    For those landlords that are committed to this market-place, get yourself educated on how best to protect your interests. Come along to one of the Universal Credit sessions I’m running in conjunction with the RLA. The programme and venues for the remainder of this year can be found here: https://www.rla.org.uk/landlord/courses/...urse.shtml

    New courses and venues are being developed for 2018. To find out when UC Full Service becomes operational in your district examine this link https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...o-2018.pdf

    If any landlord needs any individual advice they can contact me bill@ucadvice.co.uk or have a look at our website https://www.ucadvice.co.uk

    Bill Irvine

    UC Advice & Advocacy Ltd

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    As a possible resolution

    Why can't the DWP issue the appropriate authority forms to all HB claimants to ensure full consent is given by HB tenants  for when UC is rolled out to their area.

    I'm sure most tenants would  much rather the LL  be prepared for UC so they don't risk being evicted by the LL.

    They would therefore  have no problems signing the authority to discuss forms etc meaning no DPA breaches


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    1. News
    2. UK
    3. UK Politics

    DWP Secretary considering whether to ‘push the button’ on accelerating Universal Credit regime, says Tory MP

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/pol...48806.html

    From today's Independent.



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    There has been so much negative press on Universal Credit, to date the rollout  has been controversial and has affected many including claimants. Private landlord and even Social housing organisations.

    Lets hope that the Government are finally starting listening to claimants and landlords and taken not of the concerns that have been so far raised.

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