A key Universal Credit change will make it easier for direct payments to be made to landlords under the scheme.
Following extensive campaigning by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that landlords will no longer need tenants’ consent when applying for Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs).
APAs allow the housing element of Universal Credit to be paid directly to the landlord. Until now, a landlord would need the “explicit consent” of their tenant to do this. In practice, this meant that tenants could delay or refuse consent, leading to substantial rent arrears being built up.
The DWP has now scrapped the requirement and, if a landlord can prove that the tenant is in arrears of two months or more, it will introduce payments direct to the landlord – as used to happen under Housing Benefit.
The RLA has campaigned tirelessly on this Universal Credit change and a range of other issues surrounding the controversial scheme.
Chris Town, the Vice Chair of the RLA, says: “The latest news regarding APAs is a major step in the right direction, and will improve the operation of Universal Credit for landlords and tenants.
“The RLA’s close working relationship with the DWP has led to this and a number of other constructive changes in the operation of Universal Credit.”
However, he adds: “That said, further reforms are still needed, and we will continue to work with the Department to make Universal Credit work better for landlords and tenants alike.”
Although this Universal Credit change is great news for landlords, we remind you of the importance of protecting your rental income against tenant rent arrears. Our essential Rent Guarantee Insurance ensures you still get paid if your tenants can’t pay you. Get cover online now: https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/rentguaranteeinsurance
We will keep all landlords up to date with changes to the Universal Credit scheme.