21 December, 2015
There have been some recent developments since the article 'Universal Credit, APAs and bedroom tax' was put up on the Forbes' website on 05 October 2015. Please click here to view the article.
As discussed in the previous article, some landlords had spotted a provision in the new Universal Credit regulations which allowed them to collect the rent shortfall resulting from the bedroom tax from tenants in rent arrears. At this point, the DWP were declining to comment and The Chartered Institute of Housing had suggested that the regulation could be used as an alternative to chasing tenants for outstanding rent as a result of the bedroom tax.
It now appears that the DWP are going to start clamping down on landlords trying to use this Universal Credit regulation to their advantage.
A response was sent from the DWP to a social landlord which requested to use the regulation at the end of September. The DWP said in their response that the official Universal Credit policy is to "pay up to the amount of the housing costs element."
"The amount of the manual landlord payment managed payment (money paid directly to a landlord by using Universal Credit alongside an APA) cannot therefore exceed the amount of the housing element the claimant is entitled to."
A DWP spokesman said landlords will not receive additional government money to make up bedroom tax rent shortfalls.
Due to the DWP now being aware of the use of the Universal Credit regulation, landlords are now going to have to chase tenants for any shortfall in rent as a result of the bedroom tax or potentially face problems down the line with the DWP.
We will continue to provide further updates in relation to this issue when we are made aware of them.
For more information, please contact a member of the Housing and Regeneration Team on 01772 220022.