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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Universal Credit debate should lead to ‘improvements for tenants and landlords’

The Liberal Democrat’s Work and Pensions Spokesperson, Stephen Lloyd MP, will today initiate a debate in Parliament on the impact of Universal Credit on the private rented sector.

Lloyd has previously spoken in the Commons about his concerns 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.

He has quite rightly pointed out that most private landlords simply cannot afford not to receive rents for months on end.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA), which has made a number of proposals that it believes would improve the delivery of Universal Credit for both tenants and landlords, has welcomed the debate.  

RLA vice chair, Chris Town, said: “We welcome today’s debate and hope that MPs from all parties will agree that a few pragmatic changes to the way Universal Credit is delivered will lead to considerable improvements for both tenants and landlords.”

The RLA would like to see private landlords routinely informed when a tenant moves from the older benefit system to Universal Credit to help them to establish suitable rent payment schedules with tenants.

It also wants to see mechanisms put in place to give landlords confidence that rent arrears can be reclaimed after a Universal Credit tenant leaves a property.

Tenants should also be given the option to choose to have the housing element of Universal Credit paid directly to the landlord, if they wish, according to the RLA.

As members of Parliament prepare to debate the impact of Universal Credit on the private rented sector, research finds that 73% of landlords still lack confidence in renting to tenants on the Universal Credit due to uncertainty that they will be able to recover rent arrears.

Town added: “The RLA will continue to work with all sides to secure the benefit system we all want – one that is easy to understand, fair to all, supports the vulnerable and ensures the security of a home for all claimants.”

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    a move in the right direction? let's hope so. i have one tenant left on housing benefits who will go over onto u c later this yr, at present i will not consider any new tenants on benefits until i am happy with the way u c pans out, we will have to wait and see.

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    do not accept tenants on hb

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    The system is a shambles. They should contact Barnsley councils Housing Benefits team for advice on to make it work as their system is fit for purpose.
    I am not taking any tenants that are on Universal credit now as I have 4 on it 3 of which are in rent arrears. One who has a drug addiction has finally been put on direct payment after 20 weeks. ( I don't suppose his dealer will have paid tax on the rent money he spent with him ).
    Direct payment to tenant has been tried before about 12 years ago & it did not work for a lot of tenants who are on direct payments to landlord now. When they are moved onto Universal credit this should automatically stay in place.

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