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    GreenSquare Group, one of the housing associations on the direct payment pilot, has warned landlords that they will have to be strict with their arrears policy after taking 5 tenants to court.

    One of the six housing associations paying housing benefit directly to tenants, has issued the warning to landlords at a welfare reform briefing.

    GreenSquare has around 400 tenants involved in the project while the city council has around 1,600 and have had to take five of them to court as they were not paying.

    This was, however, fewer problems than they had anticipated.

    Ann Cornelius, executive director of GreenSquare, has found that 50% of the tenants were adapting fine to direct payments but the other half were struggling.
    She said:

    Fewer people than we expected wandered off with the payments but we have taken five people to court. For one case we were granted a suspended possession order – we didn’t want to go for eviction – and the others were adjourned. It’s lower than we anticipated.

    The tenants concerned had been repeatedly requested to settle their arrears, but that it was important for the project to be similar to how it would normally happen out side of the test, as it will be when Universal Credit comes in to play. She said it was as much a learning curve for landlords to see how the courts responded to requests for orders, and due to the large amount of money involved, the housing associations were having to stick to their arrears policy rigidly.

    Cornelius said she was surprised that 60% of tenants that had bank accounts, but that some were in unauthorised overdrafts or had Post Office Card Accounts. She said the group actually wrote to banks informing them customers would be coming in to set up accounts.

    Source: 24Dash

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    November 09, 2012 by Support Solutions Categories: Housing And Benefits

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