Pilot scheme to challenge universal credit rent arrears

  • A government-backed pilot scheme to help make it easier for universal credit claimants have their benefits paid to their landlord has launched. rent_due.jpg

    First Choice Homes Oldham has begun trialling a new programme to help landlords reduce fears that the introduction of universal credit will increase rent arrears, reports Inside Housing.

    Under the ‘Trusted Partner Status’ pilot, social landlords are able to identify tenants who they believe will be unable to manage their money. Once they have been identified, the DWP will give the tenant an ‘alternative payment arrangement’ automatically.

    If a landlord puts a large number of tenants onto APAs solely to ensure they receive payment, the landlord could lose their Trusted Partner Status.

    According to figures published last month, 53,970 claimants are currently on the universal credit caseload.

    The pilot scheme was welcomed by Kathleen Kelly, assistant director of policy at the National Housing Federation, which has lobbied for measures to make the APA process easier for landlords.

    A spokesperson for the DWP said: “Paying housing benefit directly to claimants under universal credit replicates the world of work and gives tenants the independence to manage their own finances. But as this pilot shows, we will continue to work with housing associations and landlords to ensure that the most vulnerable get the support they need.”

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