The South West Landlords Association, based in Plymouth and covering mostly the Westcountry were tasked by the RLA to promote and host a Universal Credit seminar which was being presented by the DWP engagement division as part of a National programme.
Plymouth City Council provided a venue in the City Guildhall and SWLA advertised and promulgated the updated universal credit information which formed the content of the seminar.
As well as landlord and letting agent members of both the SWLA and RLA, the event was opened to all landlords and interested parties. Over 50 attendees were present with representatives from charities, credit unions, social housing providers, as well as landlords and agents.
Gary Jenkins (DWP U.C. programme) was assisted by Gary Martin and Jacki Williams (DWP Devon, Cornwall and Somerset operational partnership team) in presenting the one and a half hour session. The assistance of the regional team was greatly appreciated as their local knowledge of implementation and rollout problems was invaluable.
The teams jointly explained Managed Payments and Alternative Payment Arrangements and how landlords can apply for a direct payment of rent or rent arrears deduction from a tenants Universal Credit if they are having difficulty paying. They clarified when a landlord can use form U47 to apply for direct payment.
Local Housing Allowance rates were discussed, how they were arrived at, and their relevance to Universal Credit.
Transitional Housing Payments were explained in that as from 11 April 2018 claimants who have a claim to Housing Benefit (HB) at the point they claim Universal Credit will continue to be paid HB at the full rate by their local authority for the first two weeks of their Universal Credit claim.
At the end of the presentation a lively, informative Q & A session ensued. Again the local team’s in-depth knowledge of local problems proved invaluable, with Jacki and Gary being able to answer specifics.
Iain Maitland, vice chairman of SWLA closed the meeting by inviting Paul Williams, Manager of City of Plymouth Credit Union to give a short address outlining the benefits of the Credit Union to landlords who had tenants who were unable to satisfactorily manage their own financial affairs.
What Universal Credit means for Landlords – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-and-rented-housing–2
Managed Payments/Alternative Payment Arrangements –
Local Housing Allowance –
Transitional Housing Payments –