Landlords are unable to identify payments for Universal Credit tenants due to changes in DWP system.
Caridon Landlord Solutions is calling on The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to urgently address the changes to its payment system, which have left landlords unable to identify which housing cost payments of Universal Credit should be allocated to which tenants.
According to the company, more than three weeks ago payments of the housing element of Universal Credit made directly to landlords included a unique reference. This was the reference provided by the landlord when they completed the UC47 to request managed payment because their tenant was unable to manage their finances or had fallen into arrears.
However, since mid-December, payments have been coming through with a random 28 number reference with no explanation or payment schedule to enable landlords to identify who they are for.
Sherrelle Collman, Managing Director of Caridon Landlord Solutions, which specialises in helping landlords with tenants in receipt of Universal Credit, says she has been inundated with phone calls from landlords asking how to interpret the new number reference.
“We were told last week that there had been an upgrade to DWP’s system which has caused the change, but we have been unable to get any further information on how we can allocate payments or what is being done to rectify the problem. We called Universal Credit Full-Service line but they are unable to help without a National Insurance number, date of birth and/or address.
“Then we called the Third-Party deduction line, and they are unable to help unless the tenant is in arrears and now has third party deductions set up. Some landlords have numerous payments for the same amount but for different tenants, making it impossible to identify who the payment is for,” says Sherrelle.
Caridon Landlord Solutions says if the matter is not resolved soon, many tenants could be accused of falling into rent arrears through no fault of their own because landlords will be unable to update the tenant’s rent account.
One landlord who contacted Caridon Landlord Solutions was already in the process of evicting his tenant for rent arrears but has to provide the court with an up to date rent statement. He is unable to do so as he is cannot identify whether any further rent payments have been made and is concerned what impact this will have on his eviction proceedings.
Caridon Landlord Solutions is pursuing the matter with DWP as a matter of urgency.