Universial Credit and rent increases

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  • #44522
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    One of the big problems (especially in the social sector) with UC was what to do with rent increases? All those letters of increase pouring in and all from different dates..millions of them.

     

    The statement yesterday seems to have resolved the issue. UC will only increase by 1 percent it seems for some years…so it does matter any more. Increase the housing element by one percent and thats it.

     

    This might mean that a few gain if their landlord keeps the rent at the same level but its worth it for admin purposes.

     

    Also its a rent policy under another name. Lets say Council x wants to increase its rent by 4% for its own stock. The UC money will be paid to the claimant direct; they will have to find the extra 3% themselves. If Council x has large numbers on UC they will simply not be able to increase by such an amount, especially year on year since the compound amount would be considerable against the 1%.

     

     

     

    #125877
    Anonymous
    Guest

    There’s no indication that rent increases aren’t a normal change of circumstances is there? The UC Regulations prescribe the rental element to be calculated broadly in line with the way HB is calculated, and there is no cap on the eligible rent for social sector tenants at the moment, only the applicable amounts.

    #125878
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    We both know how this will work after yesterday but my guess is that ALL of UC will be uprated by 1%…so rent increases will just be ignored.

    #125910
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I share your concerns Peter. The draft UC regs contained no commitment that the actual social sector rent would inform the housing element.If you look at the explanatory note that accompanied the draft regs you will see in paragraph 49 and 50 it talks about an ‘appropriate amount’ being added to UC to meet help with rent but that the aim is for simplification and consistency with Universal Credit principles. The Autumn Statement breaks the link to RPI and CPI and, like you, I believe the opportunity will be taken to bring all rents under control as far as benefit provision goes. How can a commitment be given to limit the UC increase to 1% yet have any old increase apply to the housing element which would make that figure increase by more than 1%. And as Mr Cameron, IDS,George Osborne and Lord Freud have consistently maintained,’hard working families’ don’t have an increase in their earnings to match rent increases so why should benefit claimants.

    #125919
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I would be surprised if this does apply to SRS cases immediately.
    This idea was mooted when i joined the programme, but seemed to disappear off the radar. Since then there has has been heavy investment behind the idea of ‘reverse-ATLAS’ for getting rent data automatically from LA and HA systems. I even had a call from a contact within the programme on this topic on Wednesday.
    I can’t rule out that the DWP have had a change of heart – it would fit their ‘simplification’ agenda (and perhaps the call on wednesday wasn’t a coincidence) – but it would be quite a step away from the way things were when i left.
    As with every change of heart they have, it creates as many headaches as it solves.

    #125988
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Thinking about this more over the weekend, i do recall talk of ‘social LHA’ rates, but this was more of a long term vision from Housing policy at the DWP. Perhaps they have now realised that even with ‘reverse-Atlas’ there was no way the system could cope every April with the sheer number of rent changes that would be reported!

    #126105
    Anonymous
    Guest

    The UC regs do not cap the social sector rents, the regs use the actual rent charged) but do contain a provision for social sector rents and social sector service charges to be referred to the rent officer where they are considered to be too high (Schedule 4 Part 5)(para 32) and for that rent to substitute the actual rent where the decision is lower than the actual rent.

    #126106
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    … although there were no plans for an interface between UC and the VOA, so any referrals will need to be done manually based on a pre-determined level above the reasonable amount.

    #126122
    Anthony Sandys
    Participant

    All of that seems fine for UC, but what about housing costs in Pension Credit? Is that going to be capped at a 1% increase? They will have the same problem with rent increases if and when HB goes into Pension Credit, but I’m not convinced they will want to apply the same broad brush approach to pensioners (well not until after the next election anyway)?

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