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Social Landlords – are your tenants prepared for Universal Credit?

2 December, 2016

The Department for Work and Pensions has recently issued a support pack to assist Registered Providers of Social Housing in advising their tenants on preparing for Universal Credit.

The Universal Credit System combines six benefits and tax credits into one monthly payment with tenants now being responsible for paying their landlords themselves.  This has caused concern amongst Registered Providers of Social Housing and the pack is designed to support them in advising their tenants and ensuring that they are ready for this fundamental change in the way that benefits are paid.  The principal aim appears to be to encourage tenants to view their benefits in the same way that they would review receipts of salary and encourage financial responsibility.

Twenty percent of the Universal Credit Standard Allowance can now be deducted for failure to pay rent – this is to ensure that tenants paying their rent via the Universal Credit System are back on track with making quicker payments. Work coaches will assess claimants’ financial capability and where necessary refer them to a personal budgeting support.

The support pack is available from the Department for Work and Pensions website on gov.uk and contains a comprehensive guide to what Universal Credit means for landlords, Registered Providers of Social Housing, local authorities and tenants.

If you require any further information or advice on this subject, then please do not hesitate to contact Emma Stainwright, a Senior Associate in Steele Raymond’s Commercial Property Team, on 01202 204501 or alternatively at emmastainwright@steeleraymond.co.uk.

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