Department of Work and Pensions says latest change will help streamline the overloaded benefits system as it faces unprecedented demand from claimants, but landlords say this will delay how long it takes to recoup unpaid rent.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that third party deductions from Universal Credit (UC) payments are to be suspended until May 10th as Ministers attempt to streamline the system.

This, the DWP claims, is designed to free up civil servants to process the hundreds of thousands of additional benefit applications received during the Coronavirus crisis.

Third party deductions are usually taken from payments to pay rent and other bill arrears, including council tax.

But the change will mean thousands of landlords who are owed back-rent by tenants in receipt of Universal Credit will now have to wait longer to get their money back.

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Although housing associations have been told about the change, private landlords are left to fend for themselves when significant decisions like this are taken by the DWP.

No communications

“Private landlords get no direct communication about UC in any shape or form from the DWP and, for example I’ve had four of my tenants lose their jobs and begin receiving benefits recently but no one from the DWP has been in contact to tell me about when I’m going to get the housing element of those payments,” HMO landlord Nick Sturgeon tells LandlordZONE.

“I find it frustrating that tenants are having the personal element of their UC payment fast-tracked d during the crisis, but landlords are being ignored.

“Coronavirus has exposed the weaknesses in the UC system and makes people like me wish yet again that Housing Benefit was still in place.”

Cost of rent

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association says: “At such a difficult time the priority should be to do everything possible to prevent tenants getting into rent arrears in the first place by ensuring tenants are able to continue paying their rent in full.

“This means that the Government should ensure benefits cover the full cost of rents, end the five week wait for the first payment of Universal Credit and pay the housing element of the Credit directly to landlords.”




4 COMMENTS

  1. Yet another Kick in the Teeth for LL’s already reeling from cancellation of all Possession hearings which had nothing to do with Covid19. This latest move has nothing to do with Covid19 either as the back payments will already have been set up in the system. Its just another excuse to shaft LL’s 🙁

  2. Hi
    This situation is terrible as tenants think that it is ok not to pay their rent , even though they have an earning and can afford to pay the rent . Ten of my tenants are behind with their rent anything between £500 to £2000 each and there is no way they can pay what they owe and us landlord have no help from anyone or anywhere . It seems to me landlords are fair game , especially the private landlords . “ I am sick of it “

  3. The Universal Credit scheme was intended to make life very uncomfortable for the claimants who are determined never to work. Unfortunately it impacted on the sick, disabled and genuinely unemployable. It was very short sighted by the government to replace local authority housing benefit.The tenants had no opportunity to access this money. The system worked quite well and should have been left out of the reforms. The Government has not realised that as time has gone on, more and more young people are leaving school, seeing that their parents do not work, older siblings and sometimes grandparents not working either. So not working and being paid by the state seems the norm. Working is what others do. If they need extra funds, well, there’s drug dealing, mugging, shoplifting, burglary, breaking into cars and for the top-end, ATM robberies.
    As a last resort, for lads and lasses, prostitution – I kid ye not.

  4. by the time they sort out a system that will work I will be out of the PRS. Yet it was all so simple. Pay us direct. My tenant has taken money from UC and the LHA for her rent and bought cars/holidays/clothes. And use drugs – as witnessed by a police officer who did nothing – he was also a neighbour of hers. Left massive unpaid utility bills and just skipped off into the distance as the council had to re house her with 3 kids just before the bailiffs arrived. I still do not have the rent arrears. Never will. I have had two of these cases in the last 3 years. almost identical. (omit police officer for the first). I am selling asap before some idiot finally forces me to sell at a discount my asset to these sponging parasites.

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