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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Here’s why many landlords won’t rent to Universal Credit claimants

Earlier this week, the Liberal Democrat’s Work and Pensions spokesperson, Stephen Lloyd, warned that the government needed to introduce default payments to landlords in order to protect them against tenants receiving the housing element of the all-in-one benefit that fail to pay rent on time.

The MP had previously expressed his concern that the 1.5 million private sector rented tenants on housing benefit across the UK could, unless the government makes it easy for landlords to receive direct payments from tenants on Universal Credit, be in danger of losing their homes if they fall behind with their payments, because quite simply most private landlords simply cannot afford not to receive rents for months on end.

A recent study by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) found that 73% of landlords still lack confidence in renting to tenants on Universal Credit due to uncertainty that they will be able to recover rent arrears.

Now the trade body has revealed several stories behind the statistics to show the true impact of the government’s flagship welfare policy on tenants and landlords, which suggest that further reforms to the way the Credit is delivered is required.

Case study 1

Brandon Taylor from Lowestoft provides homes to rent to around 130 Universal Credit claimants, of which 70% are struggling to pay their rent in full and on time.  In one extreme case, a tenant who was on Universal Credit accrued £2,848 in rent arrears. Where tenants accrue two months or more of rent arrears, landlords can apply for payments to be made directly to them, known as Alternative Payment Arrangements. When he has applied for this, Brandon has found requests to the Department for Work and Pensions have been ignored. Brandon warns that landlord confidence in Universal Credit has been damaged and that it will take years to regain that confidence back.

Case study 2

Linda Hazelwood, a landlord in the West Midlands, has told the RLA of a tenant in receipt of Universal Credit who she rents to in Halesown. The tenant is a young single mother who has just had another baby. Having been a tenant for at least five years, she now owes her landlord over £1,000 in rent. Linda says that the tenant does not want to be in arrears, but cannot afford to pay the rent on time. Another tenant of Linda’s in receipt of the Credit has accrued £900 of arrears. Expressing her frustrations about the system, she has warned that it is not doing enough to support those tenants, especially the vulnerable, who do not have access to computers in order to process and manage Universal Credit payments.

Case study 3

Sue Thompson and her husband Phil rent properties out across the North East of England, 90% of her tenants are in receipt of benefits, many of whom are in receipt of Universal Credit. She has noted that although the Government has slightly reduced the time between applying and receiving Universal Credit, paying tenants in arrears means that many are forced to “beg, steal or borrow” to keep going.  She warns that in such cases a tenants’ first payment is then swallowed up by repaying those debts often with high levels of interest or late fees with the vicious cycle of rent arrears starting all over again.

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    avoid!

  •  G romit

    It is very clear that the Government does not want private Landlords to provide housing for people on benefits. First they cap Housing Benefit then impose punitive taxes on Landlords forcing them to increase rents, and to make sure they bring Universal Credit. The message couldn't be clearer!

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    When you have a housing benefits system that works ( Barnsley councils works very well ) would you design one that doesn't work. If you did that in private industry you would be looking for a new job.
    I have 4 tenants on universal credit & all in rent arrears. I have just received direct payment for one after 20 weeks. The reason I know it is for him is I know his national insurance number. Can you believe they don't even put the tenants name on the payment. The 20 weeks owed by him he bought drugs with. He was on direct payments to landlord on housing benefit so why was he moved onto direct payment to tenant on universal credit when he told them he has a drug addiction. I understand his dealer is happy & I don't think he pays tax.
    My advice is to stay away from Universal Credit as it needs a lot of changes before it is fit for purpose.

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    Why are they having babies that they can afford or is it that the mothers want to be kept / housed / fed and their family’s for them forever on our taxes. Working parents seem to be only able to rear two children & get no child benefit allowance, while non-working non- contributing benefit mothers seems to have 4 / 5 children which is a requirement to qualify for all tax payers money , is this not very true.

    Paul Barrett

    The feckles breeders have had their guns somewhat spiked as only the first 2 children now qualify for child benefit.
    Mind you that is still two benefit babies to ensure no hoper single feckless girls can escape Mum to have their own property.
    Still a nice lifestyle for a useless single female.
    Knock out two kids and the world of free housing and benefits for 18 years await you.
    Better than working in some crappy low wage job and still living with Mum.
    Quite frankly if I was one of these feckless single women I would do exactly as they do.
    It makes perfect domestic sense

     
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    I think there are plenty of other child benefits apart from children allowance as we used to call it, and free schooling, uniforms vouchers plus medical care etc’ however I digress if I get it wrong. Cheers

    Paul Barrett

    Oh! Yes for the many millions of Vicky Pollards there are loads of free benefits to await them once they have knocked out the qualifying benefit babies.
    My feckless sister knocked out five of the b######s.
    It is reckoned that each benefit baby costs the taxpayer £1 million until 18 years old.
    So the taxpayer paid £5 million to support my feckless sister and her brood.
    None of them will ever pay back in taxes what it cost the State to support them.
    A complete waste of money.
    Multiply the millions of feckless wasters like my ever breeding sister and the burden on the taxpayer for little return is simply stupendous.
    It is hard working workers that support such fecklessness.
    There needs to be a major change in the way the UNDESERVING POOR receive welfare.
    The financial incentive to be feckless remains such that working simply doesn't pay.

     
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    I admire your honesty, you tell it the way it is, that was straight from the shoulder ✅

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    Yes Paul is spot on honest there, please or offend that's the way it is.

     
  • Paul Barrett

    Not that in anyway justifies the massive taxpayer expenditure but the children have actually turned out OK and are productive workers.
    Not that this in anyway excuses the fact that these children had subsidised lifestyles when other hard working people had to pay for raising their own children.
    There is in society a general level of fecklessness which continues to cost taxpayers billions of wasted £.
    Something needs to be done to prevent such fecklessness

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