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Landlords refuse to take on new Universal Credit claimants in Great Yarmouth

PA Archive/Press Association Images

PA Archive/Press Association Images

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Landlords are refusing to take on tenants who are in the process of claiming for benefits.

At a meeting of the Great Yarmouth branch of the Eastern Landlords Association last month, members said they would not take on new tenants in the process of making a claim for Universal Credit.

Chairman of the association, Paul Cunningham, said some claimants were waiting ten to 12 weeks for their first payment, forcing them to go into arrears. He also said there have been a number of evictions solely down to Universal Credit issues.

He added: “The introduction of Universal Credit in Great Yarmouth last April has proved to be disastrous with landlords now refusing to take any such claimants and evictions rising due to arrears caused by the system.”

Housing benefit used to be paid directly to landlords by the local authority.

However under the changes it is now up to claimants to pay their rent to their landlords.

During the roll out of Universal Credit there have been issues that the claims process has caused long delays for some people.

Mr Cunningham added: “Only if the claim process is radically altered will this situation change. Housing benefit tenants were always accepted because the council managed the claim and would liaise with landlords, now that the process is managed by Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), they refuse to communicate with the landlords even after being told the tenant is in danger of eviction.”

Some landlords have been forced to evict tenants and in the most extreme cases meaning some people have been made homeless.

Universal Credit combines several other working-age benefits, including housing benefit and Job Seeker’s Allowance, with a monthly instead of fortnightly payment.

Great Yarmouth was chosen as a pilot area for the government’s new Universal Credit last spring and then later in Lowestoft.

A DWP spokesman said: “The best way to help people pay their rent is to help them into work, and under Universal Credit, people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the old system.

“Universal Credit is designed to mirror the world of work, where most people are paid monthly, and paying rent directly to claimants is an important part of this process. The majority of UC claimants are confident in managing their money and we provide budgeting support as well as benefit advances. Claimants can immediately apply for advance payment where needed, including for rent.”

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24 comments

  • Most tenants are trustworthy & pay their rent. Some are "Sofa Surfing" moving from lodging to lodgings every six to eight weeks moving on when their Universal Credit is paid to them & pocketing the rent money. Universal Credit empowers this Scam

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Sandra McHugh

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • It was the biggest mistake ever when the tenant was paid direct rather than the landlord being paid. We have been lucky with lovely tenants but several years ago our tenant lost his job. We were a bit concerned but his rent was paid direct to us which was great. It went on like this for about 9 months until he found work again. If it happened today it would be more of a worry.

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    samphirelover

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • People in work are paid monthly they HAVE to manage their earnings which include RENT MORTGAGE GAS ELECTRIC and FOOD. If the complainers were out of work in the 50s to 70s they queued twice a week as unemployed then they received a giro, If they could not make ends meet there was the National Assistant Board. BUT through it all, the unemployed managed their own cash. I cannot understand our Social Services, what I explained at the start of this letter we had UC then why not now, Tax Payers are not cash cows!

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    John L Cooper

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • Landlords can still get direct payments from DWP as I asked about it when I first claimed. You just have to sign paperwork to do it. I however manage to pay my full rent out of my money instead of wasting it on non important things. It's the first thing I do along with my bills and what is left is mine to use for rest of month. But of course, the media doesn't look into that side of things do they, but I they just report on Universal Credit as a whole. No wonder the landlords are refusing to take on UC claimants, as if they can't be bothered to pay their rent out of their allowance, then why should they be allowed to stay. Private renting is a business for most landlords and with every non payment, but I their business is put in jeopardy.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Kat Perkins

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • David Camerons strivers v skivers rhetoric is alive and well! 12 weeks wait for a first benefit payment could only have been implemented to cause the maximum misery and suffering . Seems like a very surreal experience living in Tory Britain ,almost as though the lunatics have taken over the asylum, not a single drop not even a hint of a drop of humanity runs through their veins , anyone who votes for them is in the psycopath club .

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    cal

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • @el dingo - OK. I'll be nice. I'll also go and get on with this hospital ward refurbishment project. I thought it might be useful to point out that the Scottish government was able to administer UC in such as way to pay peoples rents direct to their landlords if the tenants elect to. I thought that was helpful given the story. Still what would I know about it. Thanks.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Rushallchap3

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • "I agree with el dingo. He's the 'best' at having a laugh down the pub with is mates and really financially successful so he must be right." No, don't you worry about me, pal - I'm not worthy of a moment's thought. Strange how I've got you nailed. You can't stop talking about me:-) Nobody likes your comments Captain Superior, so fade away and radiate. While you are here, so shall be I. Just to put you down because of your arrogance. I despise arrogance. Be a nice person, concentrate on your worthy profession and I'll stop responding to somebody I consider to be the worst, most swollen-headed poster ever to manifest on a website. Promise.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    el dingo

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • @ Splick11 --- we simply will not allow our properties to anyone in receipt of housing 'benefit' or unemployed for any reason. If past Labour governments had not distorted the housing market by providing subsidies rents would be much lower. The same applies to child benefits. 'Breeders' now face very much higher child care charges than would have been the case otherwise. Everything that governments subsidises will result in increased costs to those who want to access what ever has been subsidised.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    koenig

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • splick11: fair play to you. My partner has rheumatoid arthritis so I am hardly unsympathetic to anybody with a disability. I merely choose not to rent out to benefits claimants. Hint: postcodes NR13 and NR1. Not really on, I'm afraid. You'll have to read between the lines, but I'm not what you might think I am. Plenty of people with disabilities fund themselves by working to boost their benefits and each and every one of them would be welcome by me. Those on benefits and benefits alone are not welcome. Pandora's box opens easily in that scenario. I worked in the Police Force for a few years and the care industry for a while and I do not have a closed mind. I take your point but the properties I am fortunate enough to have are invested for my children and I do not wish them to be trashed. And what made you think I was against somebody with a disability in the first place? I'm certainly not. When I was making a point about benefit claimants, I was not small-minded enough to automatically link that to the disabled. You picked on the wrong Geezer I'm afraid.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    el dingo

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • Splick11- why is the rent a grand a month ? surely you can find accommodation to meet your budget.I feel sorry for your circs but you cannot expect the taxpayer to spoon feed you that sort of money.The problem here is so many people are lodging false disabled claims or simply having a bad day that the system is in collapse.Many of these should be sent back to work immediately.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    dave123

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • There's benefit claimants who can work with no issues and there's benefits claimants who have illnesses and are unable to work, so El Dingo, you are going down a slippery road of disability discrimination when you say you would never accept benefit claimants.....we get benefits that are completely different to the likes of job seekers allowance!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    splick11

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • This used to happen, but now, because of Universal Credit, they want to try and get people to manage their own money instead of being nannied by the state! If you are given £800 a month, then one needs to learn how much goes to rent, how much for bills and then food! Landlords used to gain from direct payments and tell tenants that they'd not received any payment and tenants used to spend hours on the phone to councils trying to get to the bottom of this issue.....

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    splick11

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • My partner and I both have Multiple Sclerosis and finding any landlord who would take us because of us being on benefits, has been a complete nightmare. We have no choice, medically. Neither of us are fit to work and have both been signed out of work for the safety of others and ourselves. But, because past governments have refused to build enough social housing, the council have told us that we would have to wait for up 2 years to be offered a bungalow that is accessible. Social housing and especially bungalows are at the highest rate ever. For every 250 houses built, there is 1 bungalow. With an aging population, there is a massive need. So those that are retired and are living into their older years with a guaranteed pension and savings (which 76% of over 70's have), these rental bungalows are being offered to them, over someone like my partner and I who are desperate for a bungalow. In the past we have claimed housing benefit to help with our rent, but the government are also cutting that. Yesterday, we viewed a bungalow, and the landlord has accepted us as tenants, but it's £995 a month and we get £503 in housing benefit. We have to try and find the rest. It'll be value everything in terms of food. It's absolutely disgusting. The system needs looking at as a matter of urgency. The council still value their properties on 1981 statistics, along with council tax too. Isn't it about time that people who get a councilhousing association properties get to live in them as a rental only, and not give them the option to buy them? This is why there is such a shortage of housing. I do understand a landlord who's still paying a mortgage on a property, wants to have guaranteed income, but here's a message to landlords, not everyone on benefits are looking for work, there are a lot of us who have illnesses that won't go away, are untreatable and will not change us. We need housing as much as your standard worker. We will pay as we don't want to move again, especially with children. Open your eyes and listen to the reasons why people are on benefits. Universal Credit is rubbish, everyone I know who's been on it, has had to to wait 10-12 weeks for their first payment, what is one supposed to do in the meantime??

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    splick11

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • I use to rent out a terrace house and always aimed for working people It was amazing the amount of working middle-aged women with one child who rented from me only to quickly become unemployed and suddenly have 4 kids and a live in partner who they didn't declare. At that time if the money was paid directly to the Landlord and found to be claimed fraudulently the Landlord would be liable to repay the money, so you had the tenant pay you. We were constantly ripped off for rental money plus the time and money to clean up their rubbish when they did a midnight flit. I only ended up as a Landlord because my wife and I both had houses when we got together eventually we sold both of them, rental was just too much trouble. I have no sympathy for Landlords who have jumped into the "buy to let" market as they have taken the houses that 1st time buyers would start with out of the market.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Tony

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • The logic of making more people homeless in order to achieve the Tories stated aim of reducing poverty through employment escapes me.No registered address means no job excepting those outwith the law.How can this be "helping people into work"?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • the sooner housing benefit is paid direct to the landlord instead of the tenants, the better. otherwise it is a no brainer.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    MIKEJ

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • I agree with el dingo. He's the 'best' at having a laugh down the pub with is mates and really financially successful so he must be right. PS - In Scotland the Scottish government have amended UC to pay the rent direct to the landlords, so it seems it can be done, which would seem to be a good idea.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Rushallchap3

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • Never thought I'd say this, but I broadly agree with Ted:-) I wouldn't consider benefit claimants under any circumstances, wherever the money came from and however it was paid. It isn't fascism, really it isn't, just realism. We use a prominent City agent to fully manage two properties: they unofficially advise to steer clear of benefit tenants with certain types of property, although of course we could make more money if we did accept them. No chance, I'm afraid. Suffolk Exile: I doubt Ted is making anything up. Hope you enjoyed the game last night - I know I did!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    el dingo

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • We put our houses into the rental housing market when we left but there is absolutely no way that they would or ever will be made available to people 'on benefits'. As landlords we are in business, not a charity.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    koenig

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • The rent CAN be paid direct to landlords in exceptional circumstances. I know a young single mum who has moved into a housing association house and they have arranged for the money to be paid direct to them. A win win situation for both parties.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • Beverley, do you have any evidence for this? Ted, I think you're making this up.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Suffolk Exile

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • Now that rent does not go direct to the landlord, one problem is that some claimants spend the money on such as big televisions, gambling, drugs, drink,etc rather than on rent. Why the faceless ones who make these laws do not see this I do not understand except they appear to live in a different world to real people.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    beverley

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • with u c coming to norwich soon i am no longer considering h b claimants unless they can provide a cast iron guarantor, we as landlords have heard the excuse a thousand times '' my benefits have been stopped'' of course they have not been stopped, the tenant has used the money themselves. message to government - pay us direct or house h b claimants yourselves!!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    ted

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

  • with u c coming to norwich soon i am no longer considering h b claimants unless they can provide a cast iron guarantor, we as landlords have heard the excuse a thousand times '' my benefits have been stopped'' of course they have not been stopped, the tenant has used the money themselves. message to government - pay us direct or house h b claimants yourselves!!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    ted

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

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