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Shut that door!

nevip
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Welfare rights adviser - Sefton Council, Liverpool

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Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Citizens Advice Bridport & District

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nevip - 17 September 2019 12:04 PM

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/sep/17/homeless-denied-housing-over-fears-they-are-too-poor-study-says

One of our local Community Land Trusts were talking anecdotally about an outlandish instance yesterday in which a well known RSL wanted them to pay a UC claimant’s (prospective tenant) first months rent. Or alternatively the RSL would immediately issue a ‘notice to quit’ to the prospective tenant if they moved in because of the inbuilt UC rent arrears.

 

 

 

MartinB
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Homeless Unit - Southampton City Council

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It is not difficult to identify the problems.

I can assure folks that this recommendation from the report is not the answer though…..


To require the Govt to…..

“Work with local authorities and housing associations to develop toolkits that supports the delivery of support-focussed pre-tenancy processes and the development, monitoring and review of nominations agreements;”

Still this is a recommendation that will probably be implemented.

nevip
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Welfare rights adviser - Sefton Council, Liverpool

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“I can assure folks that this recommendation from the report is not the answer though…..”

I agree.

nevip
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Welfare rights adviser - Sefton Council, Liverpool

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Mairi
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Welfare rights officer - Dunedin Canmore Housing Association

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I think (and these are my thoughts and not necessarily those of the organisation I work for) that the issue for RSLs is that historically, although their tenancy agreements have always said that rent was due in advance this hasn’t been adhered to, initially because HB was (in theory at least) partly paid in advance (many moons ago) and generally paid at least at the end of the rent period meaning that there would be a day or two each month when no arrears were outstanding (assuming no arrears for any other reason).

Now that housing costs are paid by UC it means that there’s a lot of uncertainty about when exactly someone will have their rent paid - whether or not the payment is made directly to the tenant or the landlord.  This has stepped up RSLs wish to have rent paid in advance as at least it means there’s less chasing of the tenant.  There would also be less need to keep individual information on tenant’s assessment periods and payment dates.

There’s also a long-standing belief that tenants can ‘find’ lots of money up-front for a private tenancy so why can’t they for social housing.

Having worked for a couple of housing associations (and wanting to be paid at the end of each month) I can understand many of the concerns about needing to be a viable business but I think it’s better to work with tenants to find the solution rather than imposing things on claimants who may not have any issues once their benefit is in payment (apart from having static constant arrears).

It’s a fine line…...