Mick Roberts says difficulties of arranging an Alternative Payment Arrangement and the time it took to investigate his case are ‘disgusting’ and a key reason why landlords are increasingly reluctant to take on Universal Credit tenants.

A landlord in Nottingham has received a rare apology from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) over problems he encountered while attempting to register an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) for one of his tenants.

Mick Roberts, who operates one of the largest private property portfolios in Nottingham, has told LandlordZONE that although he’s pleased a DWP Independent Case Examiner (ICE) found in his favour, he is furious that it’s taken two years to be delivered.

In summary, the ICE found that the DWP’s dealings with Roberts included providing contradictory information, dealing poorly with his complaints and causing a considerable delay in implementing his request for an APA for his tenant, who lives in the Rise Park area north of the city centre.

“It is clear after reading the report that you have not received the level of service you should expect from the UC team. Please accept our sincere apologies,” a DWP spokesperson said.

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Direct payments

Roberts complained in March 2018 after the DWP failed to tell him that his UC47 form was incomplete, or to explain that – because his tenant had earned some money during the ensuing months – this would impact his UC direct payments.

The application subsequently stalled and the tenant fell into rent arrears, a situation that Robert claims was wholly caused by the UC credit system. He also complained that there were no such problems with the old Housing Benefit system.

These complaints were rejected in July 2018 and it is now taken two years for the DWP to find in Roberts’ favour.

“While a landlord has no rent coming in takes an ICE two, yes TWO years to look at the complaint.

“It’s disgusting. We need change and it’s one reason why landlords are reluctant to take on tenants in receipt of UC.

“We could solve half of the homeless problem in Britain if the DWP just paid the landlord the rent directly.”

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Mick Roberts is a highly competent LL used to dealing with dysfunctional councils.
    What hope is there for your average LL who has no comprehension that Mick Roberts has to manage the UC system!?

    I have a similar situation.
    I dread it taking 2 years to resolve.

    It is no wonder LL refuse to take on DSS tenants.
    Though of course now with this CV19 crisis there will be many more LL that will suffer the same as M Roberts.

    The UC system is still as dysfunctional as ever and so is the eviction process meaning those LL that can avoid DSS tenants will do so.

  2. I’m very surprised indeed that DWP has apologised in writing. It’s a clear admission of liability in negligence. This is why, if you make a complaint about a police officer, the Professional Standards Department will generally avoid upholding your complaint, ditto NHS and complaints against doctors.
    Solicitors will always advise against making an apology for this reason.

    Toby Madrigal is a freelance writer, journalist and observer. He is neither a landlord or a tenant.

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