Universal Credit debate to open doors for improvement

Women facing the camera and smiling

A debate commenced yesterday in Parliament on the impact of Universal Credit on the private rented sector.


The debate was initiated by Stephen Lloyd MP, the Liberal Democrat’s Work and Pensions Spokesperson, who has previously raised concerns about tenants on housing benefit being in danger of losing their homes if they fall behind with their payments.


There are currently 1.5 million private sector tenants on housing benefit across the UK.


Mr Lloyd has said that most private landlords cannot afford not to receive rents for months on end and is urging the government to make it easy for landlords to receive direct payments from tenants on Universal Credit.


Read more: Letting Agent Fee ban will not cut the cost of renting


73% of landlords continue to lack confidence in renting to tenants on Universal Credit due to uncertainty that they will be able to recover rent arrears, new research has revealed.

The debate has been welcomed by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) who has made a number of proposals that it believes would improve how Universal Credit is delivered for both tenants and landlords.


The organisation would like to see private landlords notified when a tenant moves from the old benefit system to Universal Credit to assist them with setting up suitable rent payments scheduled with tenants.


It also would like tenants to be given the option to choose to have the housing element of Universal Credit paid directly to the landlord if they wish to do so.


Read more: Ticking time bomb of interest-only mortgages


RLA vice chair, Chris Town, said: “The RLA will continue to work with all sides to secure the benefit system we all want – one that is easy to understand, fair to all, supports the vulnerable and ensures the security of a home for all claimants.”


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10th January 2018