Landlords denied Universal Credit Pilot results…
The Department for Work and Pensions has been criticised after revealing it will not tell landlords how well its universal credit pilots are working until next year.
Six pilot projects are currently running across the country to test the direct payment of benefit to tenants instead of to landlords. The projects, which run until next summer, feature housing associations and councils and test direct payment to around 12,000 tenants.
The DWP had indicated it would publish initial data this week. But instead of publishing information showing the progress of the projects, it released results from a baseline survey of 1,639 tenants, which was carried out before the projects started in June.
The DWP did release some details of lessons learned and said it had found that landlords ‘need to have a greater understanding of their tenants’.
The DWP have also strongly discouraged social landlords on the pilots from mentioning the results, including levels of arrears and numbers of successful payments.
Asked why they will not be revealing the data until later next year a DWP spokesperson said the department wants to ensure information is ‘robust’ before publishing it.
Since the first announcement regarding the introduction of welfare reform via Universal Credit, in October 2010, Landlord Referencing Services has been extremely sceptical and worried about the ramifications for not only landlords and tenants but also the country’s economy; if claimant tenants have no choice of direct rent payment to their property provider, as well as leaving many claimants worse off due to the separate means testing of council tax benefits.
Council Tax benefit reductions – a meteorite about to land on your roof?
At Landlord Referencing we believe tenants should have the right to decide if their rents are paid directly to their landlord – to help those on low incomes avoid debt and arrears.
Therefore, considering this is the biggest shake-up of the UK welfare system in over 50 years, LRS also believe that landlords should have the right to access the Universal Credit pilot results, in order to help those concerned about how they will mitigate its impact.
David Cameron promised to lead the most open government ever, saying “Greater transparency is at the heart of our shared commitment to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account.”
This latest news is obviously anything but transparent, and therefore begs the question
WHY HAVE THE GOVERNMENT U-TURNED ON PUBLISHING THESE PILOT RESULTS?
Rely on Landlord Referencing Services for the facts
Last month LRS revealed that from our monthly Tenant Alert statistics the amount of accumulated rent defaults and property damages recorded in September had more than doubled compared to those recorded in August; with an increase of £20,250 each week! Which is a massive £81,022.90 increase on the previous month!!!
It is also no coincidence that the most tenant alerts that Landlord Referencing Services received in September were from the West Midlands; Birmingham City Council being the largest area for the pilot scheme.
Today we can also reveal that the official LRS statistics for October 2012 show:
39 Rent Defaults = £70,446.30
33 Property Damages = £109,642.50
Equalling £180,088.80 via accumulated rent defaults and property damages.
This shows a slight drop in recorded rent arrears, but an increase of £67,000+ in property damages compared to last month. Which is an increase of £7,894 in accumulated defaults and damages each week, compared to last months statistics.
And the most tenants alerts received for October were (again) from the West Midlands area.
- Does this slight decrease in rent arrears mean more landlords and tenants are starting to use Credit Unions?
- Why are property damages on the increase?
Whatever your views are please share them with the LRS community!
Landlords & tenants in Northern Ireland breath a sigh of relief!
Tenants stealing rent … Paid by Taxpayers.