Universal Credit and Managed Migration
What we will cover:
- Update on the process of migrating existing “legacy benefit” claimants, like Housing Benefit, to Universal Credit and the Transitional Protection scheme designed to offset losses.
- How best to set up a new tenancy agreement involving UC tenants.
- How the “housing costs” is calculated using the LHA scheme rules.
- When to expect payment and what is the “Benefit Assessment Period”.
- What to do when changes to the tenant’s household composition or finances occur.
- How can you ensure direct payment is made to you from the first month?
- What constitute Tier 1 factors & Third-Party Deductions and how can you maximise?
- Ending a tenancy and safeguarding the “housing costs element”.
- Protecting yourself against overpayments and attempts by DWP to recover from you.
- How to effectively communicate with DWP staff and make complaints and appeals.
- Properly advise your tenants on how and when to claim Universal Credit
- Accessing Direct Payments, nowadays called APAs (Alternative Payment Arrangements)
- Implement effective processes to ensure any gap in payment is actioned immediately, minimising rent arrears and the need for legal action
- Successful communication with frontline DWP and its Directorate.
This course has been created for private landlords, and charitable and voluntary organisations, that accommodate and provide assistance to vulnerable benefit dependent tenants, and is designed to address the areas that cause the greatest concern within the Universal Credit system; how these can be tackled effectively, while maximising potential rental income and minimising rent arrear losses.
Currently there are around 6.5 million families claiming Universal Credit. DWP expects to increase the numbers to between 8-9 million claimants by December 2024. By that time, most claimants under pensionable age (66) will be receiving help with their housing costs via Universal Credit. Pensioner households will continue to claim Housing Benefit.
By early 2023, another 2.6 million “working age” claimants will start the process of transferring to UC. DWP refer to this as “Managed Migration”. If any of your “working age” tenants still receive Housing Benefit, they will receive a Managed Migration Notice, intimating the need to claim UC and simultaneously stop receiving Housing Benefit.
During the Managed Migration stage, it’s anticipated 40% will be worse off under Universal Credit. However, there’s a “Transitional Protection” (TP) scheme that should safeguard tenants from such losses. Many commentators believe, DWP will be so overwhelmed by the increased volume and pace of claims that TP may often be missed or underpaid. If that happens, it will pose an increased risk to landlords’ cash flows. We would advise all members with tenants who are reliant, partially, or wholly on claiming state benefits, to come along to this course to find out how you can prepare yourself to effectively navigate the new system and prevent rental loss.
This training course qualifies for 3 continuous professional development (CPD) points which can help towards or maintain your accreditation with the NRLA. If you are interested in becoming an accredited landlord with the NRLA, CPD points are necessary to achieve that status.
NRLA Accreditation recognises landlords who have agreed to maintain professional standards in the management and maintenance of their rented property and deal fairly and professionally with their tenants. Accredited members demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of their responsibilities and obligations and strive to maintain, increase, and improve their knowledge of the market through training and development. CPD points are awarded for all activities which improve those attributes and are a requisite of membership of the NRLA Accreditation Scheme.
We would recommend this course to landlord and lettings staff with an understanding of how important the benefits system, especially Universal Credit is, to tenants anxious to reduce or extinguish their rent liability and avoid rent arrears. Whilst the move to UC could be advantageous for some tenants, there’s concern that between 30-40% could lose out in the transfer and around 10% may fail to make their claims on time and find themselves with no income for weeks/months.
The course will be delivered by Bill Irvine, UC Advice & Advocacy Ltd, on behalf NRLA. Bill runs his own company www.ucadvice.co.uk and has been collaborating with the RLA/NRLA for 10 years. He’s an ex-Government Advisor to the Housing Benefit, Standing Committee, Westminster and since 2013 has specialised in providing landlords (social & private) and their tenants, advice, support & representation in terms of related disputes i.e., Direct Payments, Backdating, Overpayments and represents before First & upper-tier tribunals when necessary.