Welfare Reform via Universal Credit | New helpline for landlords launches
The Department for Work and Pensions has recently introduced a new helpline for landlords whose Universal Credit tenants will not communicate with them.
Private landlords who find themselves unable to obtain the tenants co-operation to get DWP to supply information when it comes to enquiries about major payments, e.g. a direct payments to the landlord, now have the option to call 0345 600 4272.
The new number can only be used by landlords in areas where Universal Credit has been fully rolled out.
This is a significant change as, before now, landlords were totally dependent on the goodwill of the tenant when it came to accessing information about the claim.
Official guidance on Universal Credit states the landlord should:
- In the first instance engage with their tenant about the issue. The tenant has access to their own information via their online account and can share it with their landlord.
- If more assistance is required the claimant can ask to share their personal information with their landlord or other representative via their online journal, face to face or by calling the service centre and giving explicit consent.
- When contacting Universal Credit the claimant’s representative will be asked to confirm their identity so the case manager can speak to the landlord direct.
This follows a report by the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) and the Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH) carried out last year, which found 50% of Universal Credit claimants were in rent arrears.
Are you worried about your tenants falling into rent arrears because of Universal Credit?
To gain an understanding of the possible cost of this start by adding up eight months rent minimum (it takes most Landlords at least 2 months to decide to evict), add court fees, bailiffs fees, your time, stress and energy. Don’t forget to add in the out of pocket expenses such as damage to the property, removed boilers, copper piping amongst a whole host of other damage that can be done. Environmental health visits and other activities can also delay the process by at least 12 months too.
Which is why referencing tenants from the outset is so important.
Although some landlords think that it is not worth referencing those on benefits; ON THE CONTRARY! Not only does our system provide an in-depth insight into you applicant benefit tenants financial situation via the financial report (pay day loans, etc), but, more importantly, their unique tenant history (uploaded by other landlords) is also included at no extra charge. With these reports you no longer have to rely on what the tenant is telling you, or not telling in some cases.
And this is why proactive landlords get total peace of mind by using rent guarantee insurance.
EXCLUSIVE Rent Guarantee Insurance package for Tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit – Click for full information.
Furthermore, The National Landlords Code of Excellence (NLCE UK) are currently planning a course on Universal Credit in the South West area.