73% of Universal Credit Housing Association tenants in arrears
A staggering 73% of Universal Credit (UC) Housing Association tenants are in arrears compared to only 29% not on UC. No wonder 62% of private landlords are unwilling to let to UC claimants.
These figures have been collated by Sky News using figures from the National Housing Federation for their Line 18 investigation into welfare.
43 Housing associations were surveyed and one said that 90% of UC tenants were in arrears.
The RLA and Pearl survey showed that in the last year nearly a third of UC tenants renting privately were evicted by landlords and 77% of these evictions were for rent arrears.
The RLA said: “We understand the Government’s objective to promote and encourage financial responsibility, but we continue to believe that tenants receiving UC know better than the Government what is in their own financial interest.
“For many, opting to have payments made directly to their landlords would be the financially responsible thing to do. They then have the security of knowing that their rent is paid and can budget for the rest of their money accordingly.
“We strongly believe that all tenants should be given the right to choose direct payment to the landlord and be trusted to make such decisions themselves, as they now are in Scotland.”
The Department of Work and Pensions told Sky News: “The best way to help a person pay their rent is to help them find work, and Universal Credit is succeeding at getting people into work faster, and helping them stay in work longer. Our research shows that many people join Universal Credit with pre-existing arrears, but the proportion of people with arrears falls by a third after four months.
“We have made a number of improvements already, including making 100% advance payments, including housing costs, available from day one, and introducing two weeks additional rent payment for people joining UC from Housing Benefit.
“Landlords can also apply to have rent paid directly to them if their tenants are in arrears.”
The government seem to be ploughing on regardless of feedback, especially from Landlords, and the number of people on UC is set to double this year alone.