Universal credit has been a concern for landlords since it was announced.
Whilst there is no doubt that the controversial new method of paying benefits could revolutionise the system for recipients, there is concern that there are a few creases that need ironing out, least of all with the payment of housing benefits.
However, it appears that there have been steps forwards in this regards, with a change to the initial plans. With roll out of the full scheme due nationwide this year, the Department for Work and Pensions - the government sector responsible for management of Universal Credit - has announced that they have plans to make it simpler for landlords to apply for ‘Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs), without the consent of tenants.
Under the new plans, landlords will be able to apply for the housing allowance included in Universal Credit to be paid directly to them – similarly to the way Housing Benefit traditionally has been. Until now, a landlord would have had to have gained their tenant’s ‘explicit consent’ to allow this, which means that a tenant could refuse or delay the practice. This has led to many landlords choosing to refuse recipients of Universal Credit, concerned that they may find themselves facing rent arrears or poor payment.
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