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SFHA says changes to Universal Credit payments are good news for landlords and tenants

DWP has written to landlords to announce that small scale testing of a new system has started.

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The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations has welcomed Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) plans to ensure landlords receive direct payment of housing costs at the same time as tenants receive their Universal Credit payment.

The DWP has written to landlords to announce that small scale testing of a new system has started and, if successful, will be rolled out early in 2020.

The changes will mean landlords receive direct payments of housing costs – either Managed Payment to Landlords or Universal Credit Scottish Choices – at the same time as the tenant receives their payment. Third Party Deductions for outstanding arrears will still be channelled through the four-weekly Third-Party Creditor schedule.

Social landlords will receive a daily schedule of housing costs paid to them, which will make rent income management easier and give tenants more confidence.

Sally Thomas, SFHA Chief Executive, said: “The delay in receiving direct payments and the lack of information on the landlord portal have been major concerns that have been highlighted by our members. 

“These changes were top of the Six Asks campaign we have been running with our fellow UK housing federations, so this is certainly good news for our members and their tenants.

“However, we still believe the system of Universal Credit remains inherently flawed and will continue to campaign for fundamental changes, not least the initial five-week wait and the four-year benefit freeze that have caused some tenants to be pushed further into poverty.”

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