Posts with tag: social housing landlords

How Landlords can Help Social Housing Tenants Move

Published On: February 24, 2015 at 11:28 am


Categories: Landlord News

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Landlords can help their social housing tenants downsize to avoid Bedroom Tax, or move home for a new job.

Mutual exchange

Mutual exchange is the act of social housing tenants swapping homes. It is sometimes the only realistic option to tenants wanting to move. In a recent survey by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), 88% of organisations said that they are encouraging more mutual exchanges due to Bedroom Tax.

How Landlords can Help Social Housing Tenants Move

How Landlords can Help Social Housing Tenants Move

Successful strategies include: giving tenants in rent arrears the opportunity to exchange; employing a dedicated officer to organise exchanges; offering financial incentives towards the cost of moving;
and arranging home swap events.

Support under-occupying tenants

90% of respondents told CIH that they offer help to all tenants looking to downsize, not just those affected by Bedroom Tax.1 Landlords do this by giving priority to under-occupiers when they allocate houses, and by offering financial support.

Some are providing support for specific groups of tenants, such as older people, who may not need to live in the type of house they do currently.

Localism Act

Just 30% of organisations say that they have used the transferring tenant options of the Localism Act, which lets providers set their own policies on transfer requests by tenants who are not considered to be in housing need.1 Organisations could make use of these fairly new powers.

Those that do use them are creating new bands in their allocation schemes for transferring tenants with a good tenancy record, they also allow all existing tenants with no housing need to register on the allocation scheme, and they give priority to tenants who need to transfer for work commitments.

Moving to a different area

Some allocation schemes give tenants the opportunity to move to partnering local authorities. This is beneficial in places where employments markets cross local authority boundaries, as tenants can easily move for work. There is a great chance for providers to partner with other areas to help tenants move for economic reasons.

Buying or renting

Depending on the cost and quality of private rental homes and home ownership options in the area, moving to a different type of tenure can be a good choice. For some landlords, helping other tenants move to different housing could make more social housing available for other tenants. Few organisations help tenants who want to move to other tenures. Landlords could dedicate an officer to help tenants move to shared ownership properties, or provide a private rental sector bond scheme, or offer financial support to those affected by Bedroom Tax.

Using websites

There are more and more websites dedicated to offering support for social housing tenants looking to move to another area through a transfer, but who want to remain in social housing. Tenants can register and search for properties in their local area, or further away.

Landlords are also able to subscribe and register homes that they are finding difficult to let. Through this, they can support their tenants.


Social Housing Landlords Fear Arrears Rise

Published On: December 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm


Categories: Finance News

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A report commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has suggested that social landlords should closely monitor rent accounts to prevent a rapid increase in tenant rent arrears when they move onto Universal Credit.


The DWP has recently released the results of the trial projects set up across six different areas. These projects were implemented to assess the impact of housing benefit being paid directly to tenants.

In the six project areas, namely Oxford, Shropshire, Southwark, Torfaen, Wakefield and Edinburgh, teams of local authorities and housing associations assessed over 7,000 payments given to tenants over 18 months.

Research from Sheffield Hallam University found an alarming initial rate of arrears, with a payment rate of only 67% following tenants’ transition to direct payment. Encouragingly however, this figure improved dramatically to 99% by the final payment.[1]

Social Housing Landlords Fear Arrears Rise

Social Housing Landlords Fear Arrears Rise


Findings from the trials led to the DWP to state: “A clear picture emerged then, of a distinct and significant drop in rent payment rates when tenants first migrated to direct payment. Payment rates then improved dramatically over time.”[1]

As a result, the DWP warned that a rise in arrears is likely to occur when Universal Credit is rolled out, “unless mitigating action,” such as “focused intervention and close monitoring of rent accounts” is taken.[1]

Pleasingly, the report also indicated: “There was a consensus among local stakeholders and lenders that rent arrears had not increased as much had been anticipated.”[1]

Additional costs

Unfortunately, the report from the DWP indicated that tenants moving onto direct payments caused additional cost implications for landlords. These costs included rent collection and transaction payments. As a result, the reports says that landlords transformed their way of work to adapt, including “reconfiguring income teams, commissioning new IT systems,” and “developing and trialing new rent collection techniques.”[1]





Landlords must get up to speed on Universal Credit

Published On: October 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm


Categories: Landlord News

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Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith recently announced that Universal Credit will be effective in all Jobcentres and local authorities from February 2015.

Universal Credit

As Ducan Smith explains, ‘Universal Credit is a vision for a new welfare settlement; a welfare state fit for the 21st century; a testament to the hard work of Jobcentres and local authorities that we are now implementing it. It has now rolled out in the north west of England – to couples, shortly to families, to more than one in eight jobcentres by Christmas – safely and securely as I always said.’[1]

In his address, Duncan Smith said, ‘I can announce that we are going to accelerate the delivery of Universal Credit from the new year, bringing forward the national rollout through 2015/16 to every single community across Great Britain. Secure national delivery, yet at the same time, delivering that life change at a local level; strengthening community partnerships, helping vulnerable households. Not just helping the economy but reducing child poverty as well.’[1]

This announcement surprised many who thought the scheme would be introduced later and has led to calls from the Residential Landlords Association to get organised ahead of the changes.


Universal credit is already available in more than 50 Jobcentres across the U.K, with that figure rising to over 100 by Christmas. The Residential Landlords Association recognised the announcement as very important for both landlords and housing associations.

Bill Irvine, RLA Universal Credit trainer, dealt with the Bolton branch that was part of the pilot scheme and has a warning for landlords. Irvine believes the time for planning is over and landlords must ensure that they are in a position to be immediately able with the demands of Universal Credit.



Mr Irvine is concerned that the Department of Work and Pensions are not yet ready for the scheme to be rolled out across the U.K. Universal Credit will have an impact on around 1.6m tenancies and Mr Irvine is not yet convinced that the DWP is able to handle such a demand.

Taking his experience in Bolton into account, Irvine said that the team in this particular branched struggled to understand some of the, ‘housing costs’ requirements. Irvine expresses that if DWP are experiencing such basic problems in their Bolton branch, then an accelerated roll out across the U.K seems too fast.

Landlords must ensure that they are comfortable with the scheme to avoid experiencing any rent arrears.