Tuesday, 02 September 2014

Direct payment pilot landlords revealed

The Department for Work and Pensions has announced the names of social landlords taking part in direct payment pilot projects.

The government plans to pay benefit direct to social housing tenants in order to encourage people to take responsibility for their finances. The proposal has concerned landlords, who fear arrears may rise, potentially hitting their credit ratings.

Year-long pilot projects, which will test how direct payment can work while protecting income, will take place from June 2012 involving five partnerships of councils and housing associations.

These are :

  • Southwark Council and Family Mosaic in London
  • Oxford Council and Greensquare Group in southern England
  • Shropshire Council, Bromford Group, Sanctuary Housing Group and the Wrekin Housing Society in the west midlands
  • Wakefield Council and Wakefield and District Housing in northern England
  • Torfaen Council, Bron Afon Community Housing and Charter Housing, in Wales

The projects will test different trigger points for switching payment to landlords if the tenant falls into arrears.

They will also look at how to provide help to tenants with budgeting and at the provision of support for tenants facing financial difficulties.

Lord David Freud, welfare reform minister, said: ‘Direct monthly benefits payments are a key part of universal credit, allowing claimants to prepare for the financial responsibilities they will face when in work and to encourage them to move away from often costly weekly and fortnightly budgeting.’

DWP statistics published this week revealed there were 4.9 million housing benefit claimants in Britain in October 2011, a year-on-year increase of 132,430.

Readers' comments (59)

  • I'm sure that this project will show that the majority of claimants are NOT 'financially responsible'.

    It is so easy to go back to the 'tenant choice' option of letting the tenant decide in most cases to pay the landlord directly. Less of a headache for the landlord and tenant. Lower number of evictions as the tenant will not be tempted to keep the LHA or for it to soak up an existing overdraft.

    This is as essential a decision for the social as it is for the private landlords.

    I hope the project will run long enough for the problem issues to be proven.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Melvin Bone

    Social Housing tenants currently have the option to pay the landlord direct or have the payment themselves.

    I think it's foolish to remove this as an option.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Melvin - I agree totally but this should also apply to Private landlords.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Alex Brown

    Lets have a level playing field and give private sector tenants the option as well, that way we might lose the no DSS signs

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Melvin Bone | 19/01/2012 9:53 am.

    Any successful claimant for HB can elect for direct payment to their landlord and always have done. Just tick the appropriate box on the form. We must get away from the derogatory and patronising term Social Housing Tenant.

    However, I would agree entirely with Melvin's comment that removal of the option would be foolish.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Rick Campbell

    Hear. hear -- the removal of the option is barmy just as private tenants not having the option is.

    A council tenant gets paid by the council and then pays it into the council.

    And if the council's Finance department charges the council's housing department for each transaction ...... ?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Rick Campbell

    Hear. hear -- the removal of the option is barmy just as private tenants not having the option is.

    A council tenant gets paid by the council and then pays it into the council.

    And if the council's Finance department charges the council's housing department for each transaction ...... ?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • F451

    I pay the vast majority of my regular bills by direct payment - I've set up direct debits with the bank. I do not see any legislation prohibiting people from doing this in order to pay their rent, indeed Landlords are actively promoting that they do.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Melvin Bone

    Are we all agreeing on this? Shome mishtake shirley...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Gavin Rider

    I fail to see the point of paying housing benefits to the tenant instead of paying them direct to the landlord.

    Paying benefits directly to the landlord would be 100% effective and timely. It would remove the possibility of the tenant using housing benefit to pay for other things, and remove the temptation to do so. Giving a person with financial difficulties money is simply asking for trouble.

    Even if tenants receiving the benefit payments themselves were 100% reliable and always passed the payment on to the landlord as rent, it could never be as efficient as paying the benefit directly to the landlord.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 per page | 20 per page | 50 per page |

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up

More Newsletters

Related

Articles

Resources

  • Getting connected

    10/01/2014

    Student@Home has discovered the mutual benefits of one-to-one IT training for social tenants. Kate Youde investigates

  • Home help

    06/09/2013

    Welfare reform has piled financial pressure on tenants and their landlords alike. Alex Turner meets a former housing professional who quit her job to start a business she hopes will reduce rent arrears and improve residents’ lives

  • Job interviews in housing: outside the box

    20 August 2014

    Some social landlords believe a traditional interview is not the way to find the best candidate for the job. Simon Brandon reports on how Bromford Group is using role-playing games to get to know prospective employees

  • Trade secrets

    13/06/2014

    Can learning from other sectors help social landlords do their jobs better? Heather Spurr visits retail icon John Lewis with a number of landlords to find out

  • Sowing the seeds

    24/01/2014

    Sanctuary Housing is collaborating with charity Fixers to inspire young people to tackle issues they feel strongly about in their community. Austin Macauley reports

IH Subscription