Posted by: Carl Brown24/08/2012
Inside Housing last week reported the first, albeit sketchy, findings from the Department for Work and Pensions demonstrator projects aimed at testing payment of benefit direct to tenants.
Initial findings from the projects are positive, but perhaps more interesting is what is happening away from the official DWP-supported pilots, where landlords are beginning to develop their own mechanisms to protect their rental income.
Incommunities housing association in Bradford is looking to pay tenants to set up a ‘jam jar account’ with a local credit union.
Similarly, Walsall Housing Group is covering the cost of tenants setting up similar credit union accounts and Sunderland giant Gentoo is also exploring the idea.
Jam Jar accounts were cited early on as a potential solution to the problem but until now it has not been clear who would provide them, or whether banks would look to charge for providing the financial ‘product’ .
The use of credit unions, which exist specifically to help people on low incomes, with landlords covering the costs of setting up the accounts, is a model that could help to provide a solution to the direct payment headache.
It remains to be seen whether the plans will work but the landlords mentioned above deserve credit for coming up with this imaginative solution.
What are you doing to help your tenants cope with welfare reform? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7772 8429..
From Housing matters
Carl Brown looks at regulation, training, board members, pay and a host of other issues that impact the day to day running of social landlords