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Trade body welcomes Universal Credit changes but warns 'more needed'

Changes to Universal Credit have made it easier for claimants to rent homes but the government needs to do more to address their concerns.

That’s the view of one trade body, the Residential Landlords Association.

Its research facility, PEARL, has found that 36 per cent of private landlords have more confidence to rent to tenants on Universal Credit as a result of changes announced in the Budget.

However, the same survey found that 73 per cent of landlords still lack confidence that they can recover arrears that can occur when tenants move across to universal credit.

Now the association wants action to ensure landlords can reclaim any rent arrears built by Universal Credit claimants who move out of their property. 

At present there is no mechanism to do this. The RLA says it is looking for private landlords to be treated the same as those in the social rented sector by ensuring they can access basic information such as whether and when a tenant is receiving Universal Credit. 

It claims this is important to enable landlords to work with tenants to organise suitable rent payment schedules.

“Ministers have clearly been listening to concerns and we welcome their reforms to Universal Credit which have given landlords more confidence in the system. That said, there are still problems around rent arrears and recent tax hikes mean that landlords are less able to cope with difficulties in collecting rents” explains RLA vice chair Chris Town.

“Without further reforms we cannot say ‘job done’ on Universal Credit.”

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