Posts with tag: Caridon Landlord Solutions

Landlords considering eviction due to lack of access to Universal Credit APAs

Published On: February 8, 2021 at 9:07 am


Categories: Landlord News,Tenant News

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Landlords with tenants in receipt of Universal Credit are struggling to set up Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs), Caridon Landlord Solutions reports.

The online Universal Credit landlord portal is closed to new claimants, possibly due to the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) being overwhelmed by the number of new claims. Caridon Landlord Solutions reports that landlords are saying this issue is forcing them to consider serving notice on their tenants.

Last year, the DWP launched an online landlord portal system to allow social rented sector landlords to verify rent and submit managed payment requests online. This meant if a tenant was having difficulty meeting their rent payments, the landlord could request to set up an APA, meaning the housing element of the tenant’s Universal Credit payment would be paid directly to the landlord. 

The landlord service provider highlights that the number of people claiming Universal Credit across the UK has risen from 2.9 million in February 2020 to 5.9 million in January 2021. They believe many will be tenants who previously signed up to private tenancies based on their income at the time, but due to COVID-19 are now facing changes to their employment status and finding that Universal Credit simply does not cover their rent.

Sherrelle Collman, Managing Director of Caridon Landlord Solutions, says: “It is an extremely difficult situation. The pressure that DWP must be under due to the rise in claimants is enormous, but when tenants are struggling to meet their rent payments, we know that APAs not only have a significant impact on limiting arrears, they also help to sustain the tenancy. The Government wants landlords to support tenants, but there has to be a middle ground.  

“The landlords we are speaking to say they are going back and forth on the phone, only to be told they will be called back by a case manager, then hearing nothing. We’ve seen a 20% uplift in landlords wanting our assistance to set up APAs, and all were at the point where they were considering serving notice to their tenants because they had no other choice.”

Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, says: “Universal Credit faces heavy criticism from landlords and tenants at the best of times.  If landlords are now confronted with yet another barrier to access direct payments, it is inevitable that many more landlords will be encouraged to serve notice on those tenants in receipt of Universal Credit, which goes against the Government’s intentions.

“Clearly the Government needs to provide more resources to facilitate the onboarding and management of the Universal Credit system so that landlords and tenants can work together.  Many landlords with tenants who have suddenly had to start claiming Universal Credit are aware that their tenants cannot meet previous rental payments, but if a portion of it is allocated to the landlord then that provides a temporary solution for both parties, helping to sustain the tenancy for longer.”

Surge in Universal Credit claimants highlights necessity for landlords to understand the system

Published On: April 3, 2020 at 8:27 am


Categories: Landlord News

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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has reported almost one million new claimants applying for Universal Credit in the last two weeks, following the outbreak of COVID-19.

Caridon Landlord Solutions, part of Caridon Group, says landlords should educate themselves on the Universal Credit system now so that they can support their tenants and both mitigate the risk of rental arrears.

Sherrelle Collman, Managing Director of Caridon Landlord Solutions, which specialises in providing advice to private landlords, letting agencies and housing associations on Universal Credit and Housing Benefit, says: “As the true impact of Coronavirus takes hold, many people who have never previously needed to rely on the welfare system are having to apply for Universal Credit. 

“Many will be anxious not only due to the current situation but because of the criticism Universal Credit has received since its introduction.  The good news is that more resources have been deployed to local authorities to help claimants, and measures such as immediate access to Advance Payments, increases to Universal Credit and raising the Local Housing Allowance rate to the 30th percentile of market rents from April, are being put in place.

“We have had a surge of calls from landlords and letting agents asking advice about how the process works and if they should apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement for their tenant, which is where the housing element of UC goes straight to the landlord to cover the cost of rent.”

According to Caridon Landlord Solutions, there are four key steps landlords can take to help support their tenants who may now be applying for Universal Credit.

Step 1: Communicate with your tenant and support them as much as you possibly can.  If they are having to apply for Universal Credit, it is most likely because they have lost their job or had a significant drop in income. They will be concerned they could also lose their home.  Where possible, consider a rent reduction to meet the housing element of Universal Credit, some rent to help cover a mortgage is better than nothing, or if at all possible, offer a rent holiday. 

Step 2: If your tenant has had to apply for Universal Credit because of COVID-19, they will require a letter from you verifying the rental amount, the address of the property they reside, and when the tenancy commenced. This will help them to qualify for the housing element of Universal Credit which will go towards covering their rent.

Step 3:  Work with your tenant to establish key dates, such as the tenant’s Benefit Assessment Period (the date their entitlement begins) so that you can see how it falls in line with the Tenancy Agreement.

Step 4: Many tenants prefer to have the housing element of Universal Credit paid directly to the landlord so they can manage the rest of their finances themselves. This is called an Alternative Payment Arrangement. Landlords should discuss this with their tenants and if in agreement, fill out a UC-47 form to apply for this.  If the tenant is already in arrears, the landlord can also apply for Third-Party Deductions to reduce this, where an additional amount is taken monthly from the claimant’s personal allowance. Details can be found here .