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Landlords have no choice but to evict after new Universal Credit hitch

Landlords with tenants on Universal Credit are struggling to set up Alternative Payment Arrangements because the UC portal is closed to new claimants.

As a result, some landlords are obliged to serve notice on tenants according to specialist advice service Caridon Landlord Solutions. 

It says the Department for Work and Pension is overwhelmed by new claims, and in response the department has closed access to the portal for new claimants. 

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“The pressure that DWP must be under due to the rise in claimants is enormous, but when tenants are struggling to meet their rent payments, we know that APAs not only have a significant impact on limiting arrears, they also help to sustain the tenancy” says Sherrelle Collman, Caridon’s managing director.

“The government wants landlords to support tenants, but there has to be a middle ground. The landlords we are speaking to say they are going back and forth on the phone, only to be told they will be called back by a case manager, then hearing nothing” she continues.

“We’ve seen a 20 per cent uplift in landlords wanting our assistance to set up APAs, and all were at the point where they were considering serving notice to their tenants because they had no other choice.”

Last year the DWP launched an online landlord portal to allow landlords to verify rent and submit managed payment requests online, rather than by email.  

This meant if a tenant was having difficulty meeting rent payments, the landlord could request to set up an APA, ensuring the housing element of the tenant’s Universal Credit payment would be paid directly to the landlord.  

Many tenants, particularly in the social sector, find this an easier way to help them budget.

However, Caridon says that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people claiming Universal Credit across the UK has risen from 2.9m in February 2020 to 5.9m in January 2021. 

Many of these people will be tenants who previously signed up to private tenancies based on their income at the time, but due to Covid-19 are now facing changes to their employment status and finding that Universal Credit simply does not cover their rent.

 

Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action - who is also inundated with calls from desperate landlords - adds: “Universal Credit faces heavy criticism from landlords and tenants at the best of times. If landlords are now confronted with yet another barrier to access direct payments, it is inevitable that many more landlords will be encouraged to serve notice on those tenants in receipt of Universal Credit, which goes against the government’s intensions.”

And he continues: “Clearly the government needs to provide more resource to facilitate the onboarding and management of the Universal Credit system so that landlords and tenants can work together.  

“Many landlords with tenants who have suddenly had to start claiming Universal Credit are aware that their tenants cannot meet previous rental payments, but if a portion of it is allocated to the landlord then that provides a temporary solution for both parties, helping to sustain the tenancy for longer.”

  • Fredy Jones

    This is just going to make the backlog even worse

    Already some are say 2024 to get through the backlog and now this will be adding even more :(

  • Fredy Jones

    If landlords are now confronted with yet another barrier to access direct payments, it is inevitable that many more landlords will be encouraged to serve notice on those tenants in receipt of Universal Credit.

    Even if LL can get direct payments the tenant can easily apply to reverse it and then LL applies again and tenant reverses it, go round in circles for years

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    Correct Fredy. Took us 3 months to finally to get direct rental payments set up (tenant still owes £3,000) but case officer told us our tenant can ask for the money to be paid back to him at any time! We were also told the rent arrears would almost definitely not be paid either!!!

     
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    Who'd be a tenant on benefits - there is no way you will get a property now or in the near future!

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    Well there's no way a benefit claimant is likely to be able to rent a nice property, there may be a few rogue landlords with poor quality properties still prepared to rent to them though.

     
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    They should have worked harder.

     
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    Parasite tenants winning again

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    Parasite tenants never win they are losers

     
  • James B

    And shelter still insists landlords take DSS no questions asked .. yeah ok

    James B

    Any landlords taking any tenants now without a homeowner working guarantor must be mad

     
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    Well...Shelter can go pis* themselves

     
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    bollox to shelter and jrf

     
  • George Dawes

    I’d rather burn the place down than let it to that lot

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    As I often allude to on here and other forums, we are heading for a catastrophic housing disaster for the most vulnerable in society, created by jealous utopian idealists, who consider every landlord to be the devil incarnated, and every tenant as pure as the driven snow.
    The only way to halt an impending Armageddon is to decentralise, reduce bureaucracy and head in a completely opposite direction to where we are currently heading; at least until Build To Rent rides to the rescue. That is 10 to 20 years away. Landlord's remaining in the market are essential for now, so it's time for the government to put the brakes on and start supporting the Landlords they desperately cant afford to lose. If only they realised.

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    Build to rent already on the way by the tens of thousands, virtually all High Rise some 50 story's with no private outside space by the big players and Institutions you'll know who those are. They will supposedly be compliant for new EPC as well even though they are rubbish & death traps, Developers have gone back to Cladding again I see, they did switch to Brick Fascias briefly after Grenfell. So now you know why they so badly want us out of the way its to grab our business. They need our Tenants to Rent or buy from them, maybe on some crazy scheme (part buy mockery). Certainly if they can't have our Tenants they have no one and driven thousands of Europeans out as well.

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    Grenfell was a build to rent project before it was called that.

    Went well with public sector in charge of every element, didn't it?

    BTW, I don't trust the big plc developers any more than public sector incompetence. Apparently many detached New homes are also fire traps!

     
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    Very few tenants in my area want to live in high rise flats, they much prefer the 2/3 bed victorian terraced homes .

     
    James B

    Unfortunately in the frantic chase for the tenant vote between the two parties any one taking their foot off the gas nailing landlords any way possible will get hammered by the other party .. it’s a downward spiral. Shame tenants can’t see it

     
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    It must be the joke of the Century, the Council pays rent for the Property to house the Tenant but don't pay it the supplier of the Property instead pays it to a third party. Everyone knows what the money if for, so would they not want the rent element of him money to go where it is intended ? it like they are giving the Tenant the opportunity to thief. I backed away from 2 Lets that they might have had because of this nonsense, not only is the guy going to be living for free, living in my house, have control of my property to my exclusion and in charge of my financial affairs.

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    No wonder the word leftie is nearly always preceded by loony!

    It makes me ashamed that the Labour party that helped WORKERS escape poverty in the past now harms them to protect NONworkers!

     
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    Don't worry its going to get worse ! billions wasted on furlough to Companies & individuals that really didn't need it, all he had to say was its a Loan not a Grant and would need paying back sometime so the ones that could pay it back would & the ones that couldn't obviously wouldn't, the biggest lot would not have ever even applied in the first place as soon as its a load they are not applying, there you go billions saved at a stroke. A lady even richer than the Queen seem to have got furlough for her staff imagine that and the big Companies that milked it, even some of my Tenants I suspect got £7k twice (looks like hanging on to it) but not to worry we'll pay on 3rd of March for all this mismanagement with capital Gains Tax and what ever he dreams up etc.

  • George Dawes

    Labour is now the party for shirkers not workers while the tories are for big business and the bankers

    We're stuffed

  • Ruan Gildchirst

    With the new breathing space in may even having a guarantor is no guarantee

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    If the guarantor qualifies for a breathing space as well then I suppose you might be stuffed, however the breathing space only applies to the debt at the time the breathing space is awarded, all future payments (ie rent) must be made in full and on time, if they are not the breathing space will be removed---well that's how I understand things at present, time no doubt will tell, mean while a well checked out guarantor is a must

     
  • George Dawes

    I’m going to demand a years rent up front and a guarantor and 5 star references before I even consider letting again

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    There is a choice. Don’t evict.

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    Lee, I don't think any landlord wants to evict, non payers have to go though, so it's tenants that have the choice, pay up and enjoy your home or don't pay and enjoy sleeping in the shop door way

     
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    And let them have it for nothing?
    Weird!!!!!!!

     
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