Universal Credit – One Year On


Rent arrears are increasing in Council property suggests this report from NFA & ARCH

In total a very high proportion (79%) of those receiving UC are in arrears, compared to less than one third (31%) of tenants overall.

Respondents cite a wide variety of factors as contributing to higher levels of arrears among households in receipt of UC. These include factors relating to tenant behaviour, administrative problems and issues with some specific
elements of UC’s design.

In total most respondents agreed that all of the following are either frequently or very frequently a factor in households in receipt of UC falling into arrears:

• the six week wait for a tenant’s first UC payment (ie: the seven day waiting period, plus payment in arrears)
• DWP not notifying landlords promptly when a tenant goes on to UC
• tenants already being in rent arrears before going on to UC
• UC payments not being made on time and/or correctly
• tenants already having difficulty with money management before going on to UC and/or using UC to pay off other debts
• mismatches between rent due dates and UC payment dates (ie: tenants paying rent when they receive UC,rather than when it is due)
• tenants not recognising that they have a rent liability because their rent was previously covered by housing benefit
• delays in DWP processing UC applications
• tenants who require support going on to UC before they are ready (ie: the tenant requires an APA but does nor receive one until eight weeks’ arrears are accrued)
• tenants having difficulty managing variable income (and therefore variable UC payments)
• tenants not realising that their final payment from job they are leaving can be considered savings to live on for the next month.