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Direct Payment Of Universal Credit Can Be Made To Landlords with Tenants in Arrears

Direct Payment Of Universal Credit Can Be Made To Landlords with Tenants in Arrears

The Government’s change of policy will now allow automatic direct payments of housing benefit to landlords providing the tenant is more than 8 weeks in arrears.

The government rethink has been welcomed by the Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA) and all UK landlords who house tenants in receipt of housing benefit.

Yesterday was the day the Government’s first flagship universal credit pilot scheme went live in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, and a circular to all housing benefit staff revealed that automatic direct payments to landlords will now be allowed in the pathfinder areas.

The policy change was tucked away on the last page of an obscure circular published by the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) yesterday. Universal credit expert and RLA trainer, Bill Irvine, spotted it and immediately informed the RLA.

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Property Owners In Flood Risk Areas Fear Worst

Property Owners In Flood Risk Areas Fear Worst

With flood alerts and warnings still in place in some parts of the UK, the Association Of British Insurers (ABI) has warned that up to 250,000 residential homes and commercial properties could be left without flood insurance.

The ABI has claimed that it had already reached a crisis point in its talks with the government over replacing an agreement which would ensure that all households in area at high-risk of flooding could still secure some degree of flood insurance. However that was before last week’s heavy rain.

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Universal Credit will not work say landlords

Private landlords have already rejected the Government’s welfare reform plans for housing benefit, before that have even been implemented, stating that there will not be enough private rented sector (PRS) properties available to rent.

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UK Double Dip Recession Gets Worse

UK Double Dip Recession Gets Worse

The UK economy has slumped to its longest double-dip recession for more than 50 years after shock figures revealed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the British economy shrank by a worse-than-expected 0.7% between April and June 2012.

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell, by much more than the 0.2% expected by forecasters, for the third quarter in a row.

The economy’s poor performance has been blamed on the extra bank holiday for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the good old British weather, with the wettest April to June period ever according to the Met office.

The ONS’s estimate for the UK economy may yet be revised but it does suggest that the UK is in the midst of the longest double-dip recession since the Second World War.

The last double-dip recession was in the 1970s, when the economy was hampered by rising oil prices, a 3 day working week and miner’s strikes.

The grim economic forecast puts further pressure on the UK coalition Government, who will face even more criticism about the austerity measures that appear to be choking any chance of economic recovery.

The UK economy is currently 0.3% smaller than when the coalition came to power in the second quarter of 2010.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said: “We all know the country has deep-rooted economic problems and these disappointing figures confirm that. We’re dealing with our debts at home and the debt crisis abroad. We’ve made progress over the last two years in cutting the deficit by 25% and businesses have created over 800,000 new jobs. But given what’s happening in the world we need a relentless focus on the economy and recent announcements on infrastructure and lending show that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

The UK government have submitted new proposals that recommend Buy To Let landlords and home owners who apply for permission to make repairs and improvements to their properties are encouraged to make additional improvements at the same time as other ongoing works in a bid to make properties greener.

However the proposals fail to fully account for where the UK PRS landlords are expected to find the money for such extra improvements or even if such improvements will prove to be beneficial to tenants.

Conservative MP Tim Yeo said “The new proposals will effectively force landlords to complete non-essential improvements aimed at improving energy efficiency at the same time as they make minor repairs or improvements to their rental properties. If they refuse they could be denied permission to make essential repairs by their local council.”

It is also widely thought that the UK coalition government want to introduce a scheme that means all property repairs, such as the installation of a new boiler or central heating system, are logged with the council.
The council will then ‘recommend’ additional improvements, such as new double glazing or loft insulation that will also need to be carried out in order to get permission for the boiler installation.

The proposed costs of the ‘recommended’ improvements could be offset using the new government Green Deal scheme due to be launched in October 2012.

Mr Yeo commented on the proposals saying; “You’ve got to find ways of making the public more enthusiastic about energy efficiency and I think compelling people who have applied for planning consent to make some alteration to their home isn’t necessarily going to help.”

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