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.
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.”