A new online system to allow rent payments from tenants in receipt of Universal Credit to be paid directly to Private Rented Sector (PRS) landlords was yesterday launched by the DWP. The new system replaces the two existing UC47 forms for Alternative Payment Arrangements.
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It’s said to cut the processing time down from more than three weeks, to just two hours in some cases.
Sherrelle Collman Managing Director of Caridon Landlord Solutions, part of Caridon Group, which worked alongside DWP to pilot the new system from October 2018, said: “This is excellent news for landlords and tenants, as well as all those new claimants who have recently been forced to sign up to Universal Credit due to COVID-19.
“For those struggling to manage their finances, it provides a much simpler route for tenants and landlords to request that the housing element of Universal Credit is paid directly to their landlord.
“The old paper forms, which required landlords to fill out, scan and email or post back, were not only time consuming but also took weeks process, sometimes getting lost along the way with rent arrears simultaneously mounting up.
“Given how stretched DWP’s resources are as a result of the pandemic, it is fantastic that they have managed to launch this important improvement to the system which will help those struggling to manage their finances.”
Caridon Landlord Solutions, which provides specialist advice on Universal Credit and Housing Benefit to private landlords, letting agencies and housing associations says they will be working to help landlords and tenants to use the new system as quickly as possible.
The “Apply for direct rent payments” service is now live on the Gov.uk website.
It states that a person can use it if they’re a landlord and their tenant is getting Universal Credit.
Via the service, these people can apply for regular monthly rent and/or rent arrears to be paid directly from their monthly payment.
In order to use the service, the user will need to give their bank details.
“This is a new online service for landlords to request direct payments of rent or rent arrears. It replaces the existing UC47 process,” Gov.uk states.
“Use this service to request payment of rent directly from a tenant’s Universal Credit, if a tenant is having difficulty paying their rent.
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“Guidance on when to request a managed payment or rent arrears deduction, or both from a tenant’s Universal Credit can be found in the Alternative Payments guide.”
Universal Credit – a system which is replacing six legacy benefits – is paid monthly, although it may be twice per month in Scotland.
The payment can include an amount for housing, and the claimant will usually need to pay this to their landlord.
However, it may that an Alternative Payment Arrangements (APA) is considered for some claimants.
Government guidance on the APA system reads: “APA are for those claimants who cannot manage their single monthly payment and there is a risk of financial harm to the claimant and/or their family.”
It adds that the following APA are available to help claimants who need additional support.
- Paying housing costs of Universal Credit as a Managed Payment (MP) direct to the landlord
- More frequent than monthly payments
- Split payment of an award between partners.
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