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Guide to Universal Credit coming in North Ayrshire November 2017

Thursday, 17th August, 2017


UNIVERSAL CREDIT AND PRIVATE RENTED

HOUSING FOR LANDLORDS AND AGENTS

 

CONTEXT

Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit brought in via the Welfare Reform Act 2012 to support people who are on low incomes or out of work. It is managed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This is due to go live for all claimants in North Ayrshire in November 2017.

 

THE CHANGES

UC replaces six existing benefits (Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance;Income-related Employment and Support Allowance; Income Support; Child Tax Credit; Working Tax Credit; Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance).

The new system is based on a single monthly payment direct to the tenant paid in arrears to a bank account. Payments include all eligible housing costs meaning that claimants will be responsible for paying their rent themselves.

 

SUPPORT FOR TENANTS

All cases will be looked at on an individual basis. Personal Budgeting Support (PBS) can be offered to anyone claiming UC. Claimants needing help with monthly budgeting will be identified through talking with a Universal Credit Work Coach.

NOTE: In some circumstances, rent can be paid directly to a landlord from the start of a claim. When a claim is made, DWP will work with the claimant and landlord to decide if PBS or an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) is required. APAs are subject to review and will be reviewed on a case by case basis. APA reviews are set between 3-24 months depending

on the claimants circumstances.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF

The first payment will usually be received one month and 14 days after claimants submit their claim. Weekly rents will be calculated using the following formula: weekly rent multiplied by 52 and divided by 12.

 

NOTE: In 53 week years UC will always be based on a 52 week year, unless rent is charged over fewer than 52 weeks.

The claimant will be asked to provide appropriate evidence to support their claim. The DWP should accept a landlord letter confirming the current rent if the tenant does not have a copy of their tenancy agreement. However, this will only be if the letter provides sufficient evidence to allow the calculation of housing costs i.e. the liability of the rent, the amount the tenant

details etc.

NOTE: Claimants should tell DWP of any changes that might affect their UC payment, including annual changes in rent.

 

RENT ARREARS

When rent arrears reach the equivalent of one month’s rent (built up over a period of 8 weeks or more) or two months rental arrears, the landlord or claimant can ask DWP to consider if an APA would be appropriate. Landlords can fill in the UC47 Rent Arrears http://bit.ly/222ZBzc and post it to the DWP without having to call the Universal Credit Service Centre.

NOTE: This must be for the property the claimant lives in and not previous properties.

NOTE: Where a Third Party Deduction for rent arrears is in place the Service Centre may disclose the following details:

When the landlord can expect to receive the next payment of the Housing additional amount and/or Third Party Deduction.

The amount of the payment and the period it covers (this may reduce if there is a change in the claimant’s circumstances e.g.in their earnings).

However, the circumstances that led to the change will not be discussed.

Information from third parties (e.g. family members, support workers, the claimant’s landlord) can be considered when assessing a claimant’s ability to manage their finances.

 

If a tenant is already in rent arrears when they make a claim it will depend on the claimant’s circumstances as to whether their rent will be paid to the landlord from the start.

Claimants who are not yet in rent arrears but may benefit from budgeting advice the DWP can refer the third party, family member or landlord to appropriate supporting organisations. PBS or APA may also be considered.

TIMETABLE

This is due to go live in North Ayrshire in November 2017

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

If you are a client of Cunninghame Properties we will be contacting your tenant prior to this date to ensure full payment is made on a regular basis. We will also be contacting our landlords direct to ensure they fully understand the process and how we will be dealing with this for them. If you require further details please email us benefits@rentolease.co.uk





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