Since the introduction of Universal Credit, many landlords don’t accept tenants claiming benefits. Under the old system, housing benefit was paid directly to the landlord so it was impossible for a tenant to fall into arrears. Universal Credit has changed all that and under the new system, the housing benefit component of Universal Credit is paid directly to the tenant. Not surprisingly, the new system has caused landlords many headaches and a recent Residential Landlords Association found that 25% of landlords with UC tenants were chasing arrears.
Tenants and Money
If the tenant is responsible with their money, they hand it over to the landlord when the rent is due, but if they prefer to blow their cash down the pub, the landlord has to wait two months before they can request that an Alternative Payment Arrangement is put in place.
Tenant Budgeting Resources
Often, tenants fall into arrears because they are not good at managing their money. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has created a new online budget tool for Universal Credit claimants. The DWP says the tool is not intended to replace face-to-face contact, but it is available 24/7 and is full of useful information for tenants.
Vulnerable tenants and people without access to the internet will still have access to resources and help in the usual way. However, whether this extra resource will persuade landlords to take on UC tenants is debatable.