The Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) has updated its guide for landlords on Universal Credit. Our previous post on the guide can be read here.
Fundamentally nothing appears to have changed with the guide. It does however, appear to be more detailed in certain respects and certainly in respect of alternative payment arrangements (APA).
If a tenant experiences difficulty in managing their universal credit payment and that affects their rent, then their landlord can apply for an APA. Landlords could then see rent paid to them direct. However, this is not automatic and applications are assessed on a case by case basis. The application for APA can be made from day 1 however, the amount of the payment could vary depending on a tenant’s eligibility for universal credit.
When applying for an APA the DWP will take the tenants personal situation into consideration. Factors to consider include:
- addiction problems;
- rent arrears;
- mental health;
- learning difficulties; and
- previously homeless.
The forms that will need to be completed by the landlord can be found here. Landlords should note that there are 2 forms and they should complete the correct one when seeking an APA. Unfortunately, if an application for an APA is refused the DWP will not provide reasons for the decision. The DWP do not provide this information because of data protection therefore should an application be refused landlords will not know whether a further application could be successful. This no doubt makes the situation more difficult and frustrating.
The process should work well if the landlord and tenant have a good relationship. In the absence of that the landlord will no doubt be hindered by data protection issues and as such find the process difficult and potentially pointless. Landlords are therefore strongly advised to ensure that when they make an APA application, they discuss the matter with their tenants beforehand.
The contents of this blog post is not legal advice and is provided for general information purposes only. If legal advice is needed readers should contact a solicitor. No responsibility for any information contained within this post is accepted and PainSmith solicitors accepts no liability in respect of the contents or for action taken based on this post.