William Eichler 05 December 2017

Private landlords call for help reclaiming UC rent arrears

Landlords are calling on the Government to create a mechanism for them to reclaim any rent arrears built up by Universal Credit (UC) claimants who move out of their property.

Research by the Residential Landlords Association’s (RLA) has revealed 36% of private landlords have more confidence to rent to tenants on UC as a result of changes announced in the Budget.

In the Autumn Budget last month the chancellor Philip Hammond announced a £1.5bn support package to help address concerns raised about the delivery of UC.

Claimants will no longer have to wait seven days before they are entitled to a payment, according to the new measures. Housing benefit will also continue to be paid two weeks after a UC claim.

Changes will also be made to the advance system so that households can access a month’s payment within five days of applying. The repayment period for this will be extended from six to 12 months.

However, the survey also found that 73% of landlords still lack confidence they can recover arrears that can occur when tenants move across to universal credit.

As MPs today debate the new benefits system, the RLA is calling for action to ensure landlords can reclaim any rent arrears belonging to UC claimants who move out of their property.

‘Ministers have clearly been listening to concerns and we welcome their reforms to Universal Credit which have given landlords more confidence in the system,’ said RLA’s vice chair, Chris Town.

‘That said, there are still problems around rent arrears and recent tax hikes mean that landlords are less able to cope with difficulties in collecting rents.

‘Without further reforms we cannot say ‘job done’ on Universal Credit.’  

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