Currently viewing the tag: "Universal credit"
RLA Hit Back At Rent Control Calls

RLA Hit Back At Rent Control Calls

Rent Controls Are Not The Answer
To The UK Housing Shortage

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have hit back at politicians and housing and homeless pressure groups who are openly calling for rent controls in the UK’s private sector by claiming that private sector rents are falling in real terms following analysis of the official English Housing Survey (EHS).

The English Housing Survey (EHS) results are taken from a continuous survey conducted by the Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) and show that average private sector rents increased by just £10 from £153 to £163 (GBP) per week in 2014, representing a rise of 6.5%.

In contrast, average weekly rents in the UK’s social sector increased by more, with weekly rental prices increasing 25.4%, rising by £18 from £71 to £89 (GBP).

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Landlords Warned To Get Ready For Universal Credit

Landlords Warned To Get Ready For Universal Credit  Chaos!

National Universal Credit Roll-Out
Starts February 2015 

Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith surprised commentators with an announcement that Universal Credit (UC) will be rolled out to all Jobcentres and local authorities in the UK by February 2015 following the apparent success of the pilot scheme that was originally trialled in the North West.

Many Universal Credit detractors predicted that nothing significant would happen, before next year’s General Election, however, Iain Duncan Smith stunned everyone by announcing that Universal Credit will be rolled out to all Jobcentres and local authorities across the country, starting February 2015.

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TV Show 'Benefits Street' Stigmatising The LHA MarketTV Show ‘Benefits Street’ Stigmatising
The LHA Market

 Channel 4’s highly controversial ‘Benefits Street’ is stigmatising the LHA market and misrepresenting tenants according to Aki Ellahi, Director of Dssmove.co.uk and his statement has sparked a huge debate on PIN Academy, a private members forum. 

The heated debate also covers the fallout after Fergus Wilson, the Kent-based professional landlord, recently announced that he will no longer be accept benefit tenants due to increasing rent arrears. 

Many property investors feel that the Channel 4 docu-soap and the media rhetoric surrounding Mr Wilson’s decision are giving a heavily distorted impression of the UK’s LHA market, much to the chagrin of other property professionals. 

Aki Ellahi has stated that:

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What Lord Freud Had Say To The RLA

What Lord Freud Had Say To The RLA

Welfare Reform Minister Speaks Out On Universal Credit

Controversial welfare reform minister Lord Freud has spoken exclusively to Residential Property Investor magazine, published by the Residential Landlords Association.

Universal Credit was originally intended to be a fundamental reordering of the UK’s welfare and state benefit system, however when policy guidelines were announced, the reforms dealt private rental sector landlords a cruel blow, as it was decreed that landlords with tenants claiming local housing allowance (LHA) would no longer receive direct payments, even if they believed that the tenant was in an extremely vulnerable position.

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MP’s Claim Universal Credit Is Another Government White Elephant

MP’s Claim Universal Credit Is Another Government White Elephant

Universal Credit Roll-Out faces major delays

The current Local Housing Allowance (LHA) benefit system is likely to continue until at least 2017 for the majority of private rental sector (PRS) landlords and tenants in most of the UK, following major delays to the roll-out of the new Universal Credit system.

Universal Credit was originally due to be rolled out nationally to all new tenants claiming benefits from October this year, however due to continued problems, the controversial welfare reform measure will just be extended to an additional six jobcentres.

The delay is being blamed on poor IT by Government ministers, leading to claims that Universal Credit is just another Government white elephant.

Universal Credit was heralded by its proponents as an easier way to deliver state benefits including housing benefit or LHA and tax credits into one lump sum paid monthly to claimants, but its proposal saw an immediate backlash from PRS landlords, letting agents and landlord associations over the abolition of direct rent payments to landlords.

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Government Offers Direct Payment Guarantee For Social Landlords

Government Offers Direct Payment Guarantee For Social Landlords

Private Rental Sector Landlords
Expected To Fend For Themselves

PRS landlords were left furious after the Government Welfare Reform minister offered social landlords the opportunity for direct payment of housing benefit under the Universal Credit scheme, but there was no such offer for private landlords.

Government Welfare Minister, Lord Freud has offered landlords a series of small concessions over Universal Credit, with payment of housing benefit to tenants temporarily suspended if rent arrears exceed two months. However, this only applies to social housing landlords, i.e local authorities and housing associations and not private sector landlords.

Lord Freud confirmed that direct payment of housing benefit to tenants who are at least two months’ behind with their rent, would be suspended, with the total amount of rent outstanding paid back to social landlords within six to nine months.

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Uncertainty Remains Over Recovery Of Universal Credit Rent Arrears

Uncertainty Remains Over Recovery Of Universal Credit Rent Arrears

The UK Government are to introduce a mechanism to automatically recover rent arrears, alongside the direct payment of housing benefit to tenants.

Details released last week by the government explained that under the welfare reforms landlords will now be able to contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to request Universal Credit benefits designed to cover housing costs of tenants are paid to them once a prescribed level of rent arrears have been reached.

At this point the DWP will recover the arrears by docking universal credit payments to tenants.

In its response to a Communities and Local Government (CLG) select committee report on the implementation of universal credit, the government says deductions can be up to 5% under existing legislation, but the government are considering whether this level of deduction is appropriate for tenants claiming universal credit, or if it should be increased in the future.

Under the new universal credit scheme, which is being rolled out nationally in the UK from autumn 2013, a range of benefits, including Housing Benefit (HB) or Local Housing Allowance (LHA), will be combined into a single monthly payment termed “Universal Credit”.

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Landlords Still Concerned About LHA Tenant Rent Arrears

Landlords Still Concerned About LHA Tenant Rent Arrears

LHA Tenant Rent Arrears
Are Landlords Worse Case Scenario

The UK private rented sector may be booming and tenant demand is certainly strong but 60% of landlords and letting agents are still concerned about ever receiving the rent if they choose to accept tenants in a rental property who are claiming Local Housing Allowance.

A survey of 500 landlords and letting agents by website Dssmove found that apart from the rent issue, 75% of landlords and agents would be more than happy to let to Local Housing Allowance tenants.

Over half of the landlords and letting agents surveyed believed that tenants claiming Local Housing Allowance are no more troublesome than working tenants, but 61% cite rent collection and rent arrears as a major concern.

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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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Welfare Reforms That Affect Landlords

Welfare Reforms That Affect Landlords

A basic round up for all UK Private Rental Sector (PRS) landlords of what is and what will be happening to affect tenants that are in reciept of benefits during the 2013 Welfare Reforms. 

Council Tax Benefit April 2013

 

  • Local authorities will become responsible for their own Council Tax schemes under the welfare reforms. Anyone of working age will now have to contribute towards their own council tax – All PRS tenants should have received a letter from their local authority if this affects them.

Disability Living Allowance

  • This benefit is being replaced by Personal Independence Payments.
  • All new and existing claimants will be reassessed using stricter rules so fewer people will qualify. The new assessment will focus on an individual’s ability to carry out a range of key activities necessary to everyday life.

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