The government has announced that in 2017 a new system will be introduced to help prevent tenants receiving universal credit from falling into arrears, and to improve overall landlord-tenant relations. However the measure will only apply to social housing landlords, meaning that private landlords will remain unable to seek guidance on the issue.
Since October 2013, due to the universal credit scheme, tenants whose housing benefit used to be paid directly to their landlord have instead been receiving the money as a single monthly payment. As a result, there have been an increasing number of cases where tenants have struggled to set the money aside to pay their rent, therefore falling into arrears.
Now the government has announced that as of 2017, housing associations will be able to adopt a method which will aim to decrease the chances of this happening. When given the tenant’s permission, job centres will be able to inform a social housing landlord whether that tenant has claimed universal credit or not. This system will be aimed at helping social housing landlords who have recently expressed concerns over not being able to help out their tenants, as they don’t know exactly who receives universal credit.
However, the government has not yet mentioned how they will address the same issue in the private rental sector. This means that there will be even less confidence amongst landlords to take on tenants with benefits, therefore excluding a large chunk of less able tenants who will be obliged to resort to social housing.
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