THOUSANDS of households could be at risk of falling into debt with their landlords due to a major change of interest.
Housing benefit claimants will be required to switch to Universal Credit as part of a migration program administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
More than two million people are still enjoying old-fashioned legacy benefits, but the government plans to move the majority of them to Universal Credit by the end of 2024.
More than half a million households claiming the tax credit received a migration notice managed to make the transition, and so did those households receiving housing subsidies.
But they will no longer be able to automatically pay their landlord’s rent.
Instead, the housing element of Universal Credit is paid directly into a bank account once a month along with the rest of their payments.
It is then the tenant’s responsibility to pay their landlord.
Now, experts are warning that some people could have trouble making their payments on time and could end up with rent arrears.
Some people who are receiving housing benefits have switched from housing subsidies to Universal Credit due to changing circumstances or no other options.
A report by the Action Group for Poor Children today shows that some people who have moved have fallen into debt because of the change in payments.
The report said: “People claiming to move from subsidized housing to Universal Credit through natural migration (where they moved because their circumstances have changed) often fall into rent debt. as they adjust to the system using a monthly subsidy payment on their rent.”
The charity has warned the DWP that it is “important” that all those claiming a housing benefit due to a move to Universal Credit through managed migration know that the housing factor is not being paid. directly to their landlord as rent.
It warns people who are severely indebted or mentally ill are also at risk and anyone moving in should be told they can claim the money to be paid automatically to the landlord, rather than receiving the payment. direct math.
In response to the findings, a Department for Work and Pensions spokesman told The Sun: “Housing benefit recipients who switch to Universal Credit will receive an extra two weeks of housing benefits when they start request, help prevent arrears in rent as they adjust to the new monthly payment cycle.
“Universal Credit reflects how wages are paid, with people receiving monthly payments to help them own their own budget.
“For those who need extra assistance, safeguards are available such as direct payment to the landlord, and claimants should speak to their work coach if they have any concerns.”
Who can get their Universal Credit housing factor paid directly to the homeowner?
If you or your landlord are concerned that you may not be able to manage your only monthly Universal Credit payment and risk causing financial harm to the claimant, you may be eligible for a payment arrangement. alternative (APA).
The APA may be considered at any point in the Universal Credit claim. They can be identified at the outset by a work coach, or case manager, or at any time during the claim process.
They can also be triggered by information received from the plaintiff, their agent, or their landlord.
The DWP recognizes that some claimants will need additional assistance in managing their bills.
As a result, in some cases, a managed homeowner payment (MPTL) may be appropriate.
An MPTL can be performed when:
- Plaintiff is owed rent equal to or more than two months’ rent
- Plaintiff has consistently missed rent for more than two months, and they have accrued an amount owed equal to or more than one month’s rent.
- The claimant previously received housing assistance and it was paid to their landlord
They may also qualify if they have:
- Drugs/alcohol or other addictions such as gambling
- Difficulty in learning
- Serious and numerous debt problems
- Live in temporary accommodation
- Have been a victim of domestic violence and abuse
- Have a mental health condition
- A family with many complex needs
Who can claim a managed payment to the landlord?
Plaintiffs or their landlords can claim the MPTL.
If the complainant is making a claim, this could be:
- Through their diary on their Universal Credit online account
- During their meetings with their job coach or case manager
- By calling Universal Credit at 0800 328 5644
After requesting the MPTL, a decision will be made whether a managed payment is appropriate and both the landlord and the claimant will be notified of the decision.