Universal Credit to be paid directly to landlords
A new online system that will pay private landlords of tenants on Universal Credit directly, has been announced by the government.
The online system aims to give landlords more security and encourage them to rent out properties to tenants on benefits after a report found two in 10 refuse to let to Universal Credit claimants.
Unlike previous benefits, claimants of Universal Credit are paid a monthly sum and they must pay their rent from this one-off amount directly to their private landlord.
But the five-week wait for initial payments has led to a spike in homelessness according to the charity Shelter as people.
Making the announcement, Amber Rudd, secretary of state for work and pensions, said she wanted to “make it easier for tenants in the private sector to find and keep a good home.”
A third of Universal Credit claimants in social rented housing already have their rent paid directly to the landlord, while in the private sector only 5% currently do.
Ms Rudd said: “People in the private rented sector already face a far higher risk of losing their tenancy.
“And I know from talking to claimants and landlords that the current system isn’t working for some of them.
The move was welcomed by the Residental Landlord Association whose recent research found that 61% of tenants on Universal Credit had gone into rent arrears, up from 27 per cent in 2016.
The average amount owed by Universal Credit tenants in rent arrears increased by 49% from the year before, rising from £1,600.88 in 2017 to £2,390.19.
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