Iain Duncan Smith laughing

More on the “success” that is Iain Duncan Smith’s Universal Credit:

Last year social landlords were warning that replacing housing benefit (with payments to them) with Universal Credit (and direct payments to tenants) would prove a nightmare for those that had difficulty managing their money — and could possibly lead to evictions.

And so it has come to pass.

Here’s a charming bloke on landlord forum Property118.com threatening to evict a “very vulnerable” tenant because the DWP wouldn’t cough up the rent in time — even though he was listed as their ‘appointed representative’:

“My tenant was very vulnerable … however it took nine weeks from going from Housing Benefit office to UC to actually finally get paid … and then, only because in the last week I told them I would evict

“Landlords will evict UC tenants, most adverts already say no LHA/DSS … soon it will be no UC.

So Universal Credit not only threatens to leave tenants stuck between callous landlords and an incompetent DWP — but could mean that the most vulnerable are forced to list those very landlords as their official representatives.

This is not something you have to worry about, though, if you live rent free in your father-in-law’s £2 million country home.

  1. What utter rubbish, how is the landlord being callous? If anything he’s being very reasonable. Most landlords aren’t property barons with 100 flats living it up at their tenants expense, they’re people who happen to own one extra property through circumstance. They usually have mortgages and bills to pay and being paid rent on time matters to them greatly, to call them callous because they want money due to them is infantile nonsense.

  2. Mr Grove (October 8, 2014 at 12:09 pm) misses the essential point.

    The mushroom growth of “buy to rent” may have re-created the blight of exploitative landlordism, dodgy tenements (see across north London), and the long-term problems all that lands on local authorities. Even Mr Grove might spare a thought for the evictees. But that’s a whinge for another day.

    The main issue addressed — quite properly — by the headline piece was the sheer and chronic incompetence of the DWP. And the insufferable insouciance of its Secretary of State.

  3. Charlotte Revely says:

    I think the point here is that UC claimants are suddenly very vulnerable to eviction in a way that didn’t apply when HB was paid direct to landlords. No-one can manage money effectively if you simply don’t have enough to live on and most will put food before rent. The idea that you teach people budgeting by paying direct is just ridiculous and, if this truly were the objective, why would you bring in pre-paid cards? This is callous and unjust – we need rent controls, more social housing and the minimum wage increased to the living wage to start to solve this.

  4. I have been a benefit claimant in a similar situation, and the regulations demanded proof that eviction was imminent. So the claimant is OBLIGED to ask for an eviction notice from the landlord – if he isn’t given one, THEN you know the landlord is being a complete **** who wants him out !

  5. Landlords are obligated to give tenants written notice to quit. The notice period should be reasonable – at least 28 days or as stipulated in the contract. If a tenant does not comply with the notice, then landlord has to go to court to get the decree to enforce eviction. Landlords try to intimidate, bully, threaten, act deviously, etc in order to get the tenant out quickly without having to rely on the court decree. My message is : If landlord does want you out, and you want to do it by the law, then don’t leave until landlord gets official decree from the courts…if landlord changes your locks without the decree, then call the police…and report incident to SHELTER…because the local authority needs to know who the rogues are, and the rogues need to know that you are not objecting to the notice to quit for no reason but you need the proper procedure applied in order to be able to get homelessness help if needed later.

  6. Just to follow up on this article, I know Mr Kinsey and have met the tenant in question and can happily inform readers that he was not evicted and everything was sorted, in the end.

    His experience was a nightmare and should be a warning to landlords and more importantly tenants. If you can’t manage your money then it’s easier to simply have a direct debit set up straight to the landlords account. Makes sense doesn’t it?

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