There has been a warm welcome for government changes to Universal Credit by the Residential Landlords Association.
The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed to the RLA that landlords will no longer need tenants’ consent when applying for Alternative Payment Arrangements, or APAs.
These allow the housing element of Universal Credit to be paid directly to the landlord.
Until now a landlord would need the ‘explicit consent’ of the tenant to do this. In practice, this meant tenants could delay or refuse consent, leading to substantial rent arrears being built up.
The DWP has now scrapped the requirement and, if a landlord can prove the tenant is in arrears of two months or more, it will introduce payments direct to the landlord - as used to happen under housing benefit.
“The latest news regarding APAs is a major step in the right direction, and will improve the operation of Universal Credit for landlords and tenants. That said, further reforms are still needed and we will continue to work with the department to make Universal Credit work better for landlords and tenants alike” says Chris Town, the RLA’s vice-chair.