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DWP responds to SFHA lobbying to improve Universal Credit by proposing more effective approach to processing rent changes

DWP intends to have the new arrangements in place ready for April 2019.

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The DWP is developing proposals to allow social landlords that use the landlord portal to submit bulk uploads rent changes for their tenants who are claimants of Universal Credit.

Revealing its proposals at Thursday's meeting of the Strategic Landlord Group, the DWP intends to have arrangements in place ready for April 2019. The approach contrasts from the one previously taken, where the DWP insisted that it was the responsibility of individual claimants to notify them via their online journal of rent changes only once they came into effect. This would prompt a rent verification request to landlords, which, as Universal Credit goes to scale, would present a considerable administrative burden.

Policy Adviser Jeremy Hewer, who represents the SFHA on the Strategic Landlord Group, said:

“This is a very welcome move, though it may be coming late for housing associations that have already put in plans to alert tenants to notify changes as they send out their rent change notifications.

“In its June 2018 report on the implementation of Universal Credit, the National Audit Office urged that the DWP should make use of bulk uploads for efficiency’s sake.

"This change will, I hope, make life a lot easier for housing associations to administer and for individual tenants to manage on Universal Credit.”