The Government’s confirmation that they will be introducing legislation to make it easier for landlords to apply for Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs) without the consent of Universal Credit tenants has been applauded by the Residential Landlords Association.
The Residential Landlords Association has commended the decision to allow landlords to apply for APAs without the consent of tenants who are receiving the controversial all in one benefit scheme. The Department for Work and Pensions has finally succumbed to pressure from landlords and landlord bodies to introduce APAs. This will allow the housing element of Universal Credit to be paid directly to the landlord.
Until this change in legislation, the landlord would require the ‘explicit consent’ of their tenant to introduce an alternative method of receiving the benefit. This was problematic, as it meant that tenants could delay or refuse to give consent. This could then lead to a substantial build up in rent arrears.
The introduction of Universal Credit has been mired in controversy due to concern that the one-sum benefit will lead to rent arrears as tenants fail to set aside adequate amounts to pay their landlords. This has led to several landlords deciding that they will no longer let to tenants on benefits in order to avoid potential rent arrears. This then contributes to what is already a significant housing shortage in the UK.
RLA vice chair, Chris Town, said: ‘The latest news regarding APAs is a major step in the right direction, and will improve the operation of Universal Credit for landlords and tenants. The RLA’s close working relationship with the DWP has led to this and a number of other constructive changes in the operation of Universal Credit. That said, further reforms are still needed and we will continue to work with the Department to make Universal Credit work better for landlords and tenants alike.’