Many tenants still uncertain about Universal Credit
New research has found that tenants are still uncertain by the new universal credit system.
A survey by the National Landlords Association found that half of those who took part said that whilst they are aware of Universal Credit, they don’t fully understand what it means. 21% of respondents said that they were completely unaware of Universal Credit and only 30% said that they fully knew about the changes and what to expect.
Universal Credit will see six existing benefits merge into one single monthly payment. One big change Universal Credit will see is housing benefit being paid to tenants rather than directly to landlords. 28% of tenants who took part in the survey said that they would prefer the payments to be paid directly to their landlords, as they feel this would help them avoid falling into arrears, reports 24dash.
Carolyn Uphill, NLA chairman, said: “Benefit payments simply haven’t kept up with rents over the past few years as the UC programme has progressed and cuts to welfare payments have been made. This has led to concern among many landlords that tenants will fall behind on rent as their finances become increasingly squeezed. If tenants don’t fully understand what UC is or haven’t even heard of it, more and more landlords will lose confidence that letting to this market is financially viable, especially with the high demand and availability from other types of tenants. Our findings show a significant number of tenants would prefer their housing support to be paid directly to their landlord. If this was an option from the beginning of the tenancy it would avoid the build-up of arrears in the first place, give landlords the confidence that rent would be paid on time and lead to fewer tenancies ending prematurely.”
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