In December 2017, the Department for Work & Pensions ended the practice of requiring a tenant’s explicit consent for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) to be put in place. This APA would mean direct payment of the housing cost element of Universal Credit being paid direct to the landlord if the tenant is struggling to budget.
The new process should considerably simplify and speed up the APA request for landlords and will continue to retain a safeguard for the claimant to challenge the APA request e.g. where the claimant is in dispute with the landlord.
The tenant will no longer be asked or required to give explicit consent for an APA. The tenant will now be told that an APA has been applied for by the landlord, and the reason. The tenant will then have 7 days to provide proof that either the basis of the claim is wrong, or proof of a valid landlord/tenant dispute. Such evidence could be proof of payment (for rent arrears claims), or correspondence with local authority/CAB about repair issues (for landlord/tenant dispute)
If the tenant cannot prove that the basis for the APA is unfounded, or that there is a valid landlord/tenant dispute, or if they just ignore it, the APA will be put in place after 7 days.
In addition, when a claimant is asked to verify their rent, the DWP will also ask them if their housing benefit was being paid directly to their landlord prior to their UC claim and the reasons for this. This will allow work coaches to have a conversation with the claimant to determine whether a managed payment to landlord APA for the UC claim may need to be applied, if appropriate.
On Wednesday 24th January, we held our Annual General Meeting at the Future Inn, Plymouth.
On completion of the agenda and formal meeting, drinks and a finger buffet were enjoyed by all members who attended. This gave us and members the opportunity to network and catch up.
Notice of an Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting of the Association will be held on Wednesday 24th January 2018 @ 7:30pm.
The Future Inn Plymouth, 1 William Prance Road, Plymouth International Business Park, Plymouth PL6 5ZD
Please note that this will be a members-only meeting
We will start promptly at 7.30pm with the formal proceedings of the Annual General Meeting in accordance with the Agenda.
After the important business has been concluded there will be an opportunity to socialise over drinks and a finger buffet.
The Committee would like to thank you for your support and hope to see you at the AGM.
The ‘How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England’ guide from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government was updated yesterday (17th January 2018).
Changes include a change of government department name on page 1 and the removal of reference to the London Rental Standard on page 3.
With immediate effect, landlords must ensure that they issue the most recent version to tenants in England when they start or renew their tenancies. Failure to do so could invalidate any future Section 21 action.
The latest ‘How to Rent’ guide can be found on the gov.uk website;
A Staffordshire based landlord has been sentenced after failing to provide evidence that a gas safety check had been carried out at one of his tenanted properties.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates’ Court heard how David Corry failed to present a Landlords Gas Safety Record to the HSE after numerous attempts from HSE representatives to obtain this certificate.
On 11 August 2016, HSE served Mr Corry with an Improvement Notice requiring him to arrange for a registered gas fitter to carry out an inspection of the gas appliances in one of his tenanted premises in Stafford, and to produce a Landlords Gas Safety Record. Mr Corry failed to comply with the Improvement Notice.
Mr David John Corry of Springfield Drive, Stafford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 36(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and Section 21 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was sentenced to serve a total of 36 weeks imprisonment, suspended for twelve months, and ordered to complete 140 hours unpaid work. Mr Corry was also ordered to pay costs of £6,428.46.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Wayne Owen said: “David Corry potentially put the health of his tenants at risk and also chose to ignore the repeated requests by the HSE to produce the gas safety record.
“Every year around 7 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated. It is important that landlords fulfil their legal gas safety obligations to their tenants.”
Article from the Health and Safety Executive.
More information on what landlords are legally responsible for in relation to gas safety can be found on the HSE website:
Thursday 25th January 2018 – 9:30 – 4:30pm
Venue – Astor Room, Plymouth Guildhall, Royal Parade, Plymouth PL1 1HA
Price – £65 for members of SWLA, £75 for non – members for one day course.
Course covers ASTs, Deposits, Section 21s, Section 8s, HMOs, Gas and Electrical Safety, Inventories and much more.
The course will provide you with all the skills to start, manage and finish a tenancy.
Places still available. Contact the office on 01752 510913 or via the website to book your place, places secured on receipt of payment.
Over 650 landlords have already completed this course since September 2011.
Course can lead to Accreditation, if required.