Helpline for landlords to tackle Universal Credit problems
The new number 0345 600 4272 can be used by landlords who are unable to obtain the tenant’s co-operation to get DWP to supply information when it comes to enquiries about major payments – such as a direct payment to the landlord.
Beforehand, landlords were totally dependent on the goodwill of the tenant when it came to accessing information.
However, the new number can only be used by landlords in areas where Universal Credit has been fully rolled out.
The official Universal Credit guidance says the landlord should:
In the first instance engage with their tenant about the issue. The tenant has access to their own information via their online account and can share it with their landlord.
If more assistance is required the claimant can ask to share their personal information with their landlord or other representative via their online journal, face to face or by calling the service centre and giving explicit consent.
When contacting Universal Credit the claimant’s representative will be asked to confirm their identity so the case manager can speak to the landlord direct.
Earlier this summer DWP said it will address problems faced by landlords who house Universal Credit tenants.
Residential Landlords Association (RLA) directors David Smith and Chris Town met with Caroline Dinenage MP, the new Minister responsible for housing cost support, to discuss issues including rent arrears and direct payments.
"The real key to a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship is transparency and trust, which should come at the start of the partnership and grow throughout the agreement." says Alex Huntley, Simple’s Head of Operations. "Should mitigating circumstances for the tenant result in them falling short one month, allowing some leniency and organising a manageable repayment plan is a better result than no money at all."