A complete overhaul of benefit provision in the UK was always going to present challenges for all sectors and individuals involved.
Back in 2010, when the Government announced its plans to replace six means-tested benefits with a single Universal Credit (UC), many were sceptical. Today, one year on from the start of the roll-out in England, the teething problems are already apparent. According to new research, one of the main groups suffering are private landlords with social housing tenants.
Housing benefit is one of the payments being replaced by UC and a report published by the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) and the Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH) reveals that 79% of council tenants in receipt of Universal Credit (UC) are now in rent arrears. The report has also found that prior to claiming UC, only half of those households had pre-existing rent arrears.
Landlords are being forced to negotiate a minefield of disinformation and confusion which, as the report shows, is leaving them out of pocket and in need of reliable, expert advice and support. At Caridon Landlord Solutions (CLS) we have been taking the strain and helping landlords resolve issues relating to UC. Our experts have unrivalled knowledge of the changes now happening in the welfare system and we have been able to help clients recover arrears and put them and their tenants on a more secure footing.
In one recent case, a landlord contacted us after their tenant – who had a history or arrears - was placed on Universal Credit. We were able to intervene and worked with both the landlord and the tenant to get the housing cost paid to the landlord along with attachments to clear the arrears. Increasingly we are receiving similar inquiries from landlords confused by the new system and what it will mean for them and their tenants.
CLS was established to help find solutions for the range of issues all landlords may face. We provide a comprehensive advice and support service for landlords, estate agents, tenants and housing associations. We offer end-to-end solutions and can deal with all issues that arise around tenancies. We rescue difficult situations, deal with queries relating to Housing Benefit and Universal Credit, recover payments, deal with difficult tenants, arrange appeals and resolve disputes. All our services are designed to save landlords time, money and stress.
In another recent case we liaised with a tenant and the local authority to get the tenant’s housing claim reassessed and recovered over £3000. Working for another landlord we recovered historical arrears of over £3100.
We are able to have a positive impact on the situations we deal with because our staff are highly trained in all areas of housing and have years of experience, as well as an in-depth understanding of welfare reform. We are also part of the Caridon Group of companies and our sister company, Caridon Property Services, houses over 1000 social housing tenants which gives us the knowledge pool to be responsive to change and to resolve complex issues.
CLS is a one-stop consultancy service which takes the strain out of renting. Our services are designed to save landlords money and most importantly maintain tenancies. We have an extensive menu of stand-alone solutions for every aspect of the tenancy life cycle, giving landlords the flexibility to opt for services that suit their needs.
Caridon Group is a fast-growing, unique, multidisciplinary, independent property specialist with the expertise and capability to deliver a diverse portfolio of schemes and services through subsidiaries; Caridon Holdings, Caridon Developments, Caridon Property and CLS.
The UC rollout continues and with it come problems with I.T. systems and project management which have caused significant delays. Existing claimants of ‘legacy’ benefits are not expected to be transferred to the system until late 2017 at the earliest. According to the current timetable Universal Credit is due to be delivered by 2021. Problems will persist for many years. Luckily for landlords, CLS will be there to help.