Welfare Reforms

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  • Welfare Reforms

    I have in the past few days launched my latest website www.welfarereformsadvice.co.uk. which is still very much a work-in-progress which will, in the next week or so, have a specific section covering Private Landlords.

    Over the next year, the Government will publish a series of statutory instruments which will provide the finer detail we have been patiently waiting for. These will be included on the site witha n explanatory note and link to any associated DWP guidance.

    The Government is clearly reluctant to provide specific responses to many of the questions being posed by various stakeholders and is already coming up short in terms of its critical IT systems as I predicted it would.

    Have a look at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/poli...y-experts.html

    Read also the following article suggesting the Government is actively considering eliminating under 25's from Housing Benefit. It may not come to anything but highlights just how desperate it is to make savings and reduce Government debt http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/tenan...521351.article

    I intend to add articles such as these on a weekly/monthly basis to the site.

    HBadvocacy
    www.welfarereformsadvice.co.uk

  • #2
    Hi Guys,

    By way of update, the site now has the promised section for private landlords and compliments what's already available on my original site www.hbadvice.co.uk. I hope you find this useful just now, and as it develops, it will become one of your favourites.

    Hbadvocacy
    www.hbadvice.co.uk
    www.welfarereformsadvice.co.uk

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Guys,

      This article was recently published. Have a read! http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2...it-cuts-survey

      HBadvocacy
      www.hbadvice.co.uk
      www.welfarereformsadvice.co.uk

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by hbadvocacy View Post
        Hi Guys,

        This article was recently published. Have a read! http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2...it-cuts-survey
        Your opinion on the likelyhood of the 'scrap benefit for u25s' plan?

        Comment


        • #5
          As a LHA landlord of over 25+ lha tenants, the current changes had a small negative effect. We gave notice to all tenants under 35+ whom were in 1 bed properties giving them notice or opportunity to move to our HMO. Their is just one lady tenant left that wont move, so we are getting far less but could move for possession due to increasing arrears (At this time we are being flexible).

          The Welfare Reforms, in short have had little effect to us except to increase our acceptance criteria - demand remains high. It only effects under 35's at this time as their choices are limited. Unless they are employed or have children we only offer under 35's housing in our HMO / Shared Room Properties.

          Originally posted by welfarereformsadvice
          The Welfare Reform Act 2012 will almost certainly cause havoc for Private Sector Landlords. The abolition of HB/LHA as a stand-alone benefit, to be replaced by the inclusion of a ‘housing element’ in the new all-inclusive Universal Credit
          Can you please check your sources?
          Their is a difference between LHA and Housing Benefit, the reform act is for Housing Benefit which only effects Social Landlords and not Private Landlords. In all calls I have made looking into this the council representatives made me aware that it wont effect PRS when it is introduced but MAY be introduced at a later time.
          The proposed act fails to mention Landlords or Private Rented Sector or Local Housing Allowance throughout.

          I look forward to your reply, im yet to find an official document regarding LHA/PRS and Universal Credit only speculation from letting commenter's.

          Comment


          • #6
            Snorkez,

            I don't believe it will happen because it would certainly be challenged by the likes of Shelter/CPAG on the grounds of its blatant discrimination. What it does highlight is the extent to which this Coalition Government may be willing to venture to achieve its objective of dramatically reducing its fiscal deficit.

            HBadvocacy
            www.hbadvice.co.uk
            www.welfarereformsadvice.co.uk

            Comment


            • #7
              YesAdam,

              Firstly, LHA is only a small part of the Housing Benefit scheme (Housing Benefit Regulations, 2006)and doesn't cover all private sector claimants. Those who were participants in the scheme prior to April 2008 are still treated under the "old scheme" rules. The Housing Benefit guidance applies equally to HB/LHA recipients. For your info, there is no separate or equivalent LHA legislation!

              As far as the Welfare Reforms are concerned you couldn't be any more wrong! The WR Act 2012 came into effect from 8th March 2012 and will significantly affect all your exisitng LHA claimants who will migrate to the new benefit starting from October 2013. For example, where you're currently receiving "direct payments" under one or other of the "safeguard" provisions this is unlikely to apply from October 2013. The Coalition Government's Universal Credit will amongst other things, abolish HB/LHA payments and include a "housing costs element" in the global UC payment which will be paid direct to the tenant, monthly in arrears, recreating the difficulties you most likely experienced in April 2008 when most payments went directly to your tenants. As I've said in earlier posts, the Coalition Government is hell bent on pressing ahead with its plans despite the historical evidence which suggests making payment to the tenant will in many cases cause loss of revenue to PRS landlords/agents.

              Universal Credit will particularly affect social landlords because for the first time here will be no tick box facility permitting working age HB payments to be made direct to these landlords. Currently around 95% of such payments go direct to associations nationwide. From October 2013 when the migration starts associations will start to experience considerable difficulty collecting rent for the first time from many of these tenants.

              Have a read at my website www.welfarereformsadvice.co.uk for a more thorough explanation and feel free to check this out with your authority's Head of Benefits.

              HBadvocacy
              www.hbadvice.co.uk
              www.welfarereformsadvice.co.uk

              Comment


              • #8
                Sure but their is LHA legislation .. as amendments to the HB regulation.
                You say UC will abolish LHA, i'm yet to see this is the case with calls to associates in benefits I was clearly advised that PRS will remain unaffected but social housing will go trough a tough time. In the WR Act it mentions nothing specific regarding LHA where I can read as even a hint that we will come under this.

                Sure but your example does not fit in our case, we work with our bank and our tenants to ensure we get paid direct from day one. The new reforms have had little effect, mainly down to my spreadsheet and being proactive.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yes adam, but I'd lay odds of more than 100:1 that Bill is right & you are perhaps not...

                  I'm sure you already appreciate who he is
                  http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...141-hbadvocacy
                  , that he is a "Topic Expert", his websites
                  http://www.welfarereformsadvice.co.uk/
                  &
                  http://www.hbadvice.co.uk/

                  & what he does??


                  I could of course be wrong.. aye, right (Scots usage...)

                  Cheers!
                  I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    haha - I did see who he is. The thing about experts are ... their a good source of knowledge.

                    I'm unable to find any official document mentioning PRS and UC. Its mainly speculation from Blogs and such like (most don't know theirs a difference between HB and LHA) and I'm one for the fine detail.

                    If I am wrong, then im wrong. I could invest in infrastructure to get around that, which is why I am interested at the facts at this point. If this UC does come into practice then it will have a negative effect on my current business, but it may also be an opportunity as others will be in same situation, looking for a way out.

                    As far as I can tell our benefits department has no knowledge this will effect LHA/PRS and as far as I can read nothing official mentioning LHA/PRS. In all I have read, Im starting to feel sorry for social landlords.

                    If UC is implemented incremental, social first then PRS. Im sure the damage to social landlords may change Iain Duncan Smith and housing minister Grant Shapps minds.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      YesAdam,

                      Section 33 of the Welfare Reform Act abolishes, amongst other things Housing Benefit, to be replaced by a new integrated benefit called Universal Credit. The new benefit will include an amount for housing costs if the claimant and/or their partner is liable to pay rent. It makes no difference whether the landlord is social or private.

                      One of the most commonly known features of Universal Credit is the introduction of a benefit cap of £350 for a single claimant; £500 for a couple - I'm sure you'll have read about this, even the Sun has provided coverage. The cap mostly effects PRS tenants in the London area but there are around 67,000 claimants affected UK wide. During the past week letters were issued to those potentially affected. Here's part of the DWP produced letter:

                      "From April 2013 a cap will be introduced on the total amount of benefit that working age people can receive. This will mean that workless households should no longer receive more in benefits than the average earnings of working households. In the first instance the cap will be administered jointly by DWP and local authorities through deductions from Housing Benefit payments. In the longer term it will form part of the new Universal Credit system.

                      In May 2012, DWP are writing to all claimants potentially affected by the cap. Some of these will wish to discuss their housing options and will be directed to their local authority. The direct mail will be sent nationally to 67,000 households (90,000 adults) between 4 and 22 May 2012. We can expect to receive queries from claimants that have received the letter but until we get the final list from DWP we won’t know the local figure. However 54% of the 67,000 cases are in London and only 9% (6030) in the whole of the South East so it should be manageable. 44% of the total are social housing tenants and 54% rent privately.

                      As front line staff you will need be aware of the cap, the reasons for it, the effect it could have on the claimant and what the claimant can do to avoid having their benefit capped. So here is a reminder of what you need to know………"

                      If you examine my Welfare Reforms website it provides a link to the Welfare Reforms Act 2012. If you read just the introduction you'll find the authority for the cap is in the Act.

                      So from April 2013 when the cap becomes effective what will be reduced is Housing Benefit. It refers to housing benefit because, as I said in my earlier posts, there is no separate LHA scheme it's an integral part of housing benefit. But if you were one of the London based PRS landlords you would realise Housing Benefit and LHA are one and the same!

                      To reinforce my point I would refere you to one of your own posts you refer to Regulation 95 of the Housing Benefit Regulations, 2006 - commonly known as the 8 weeks rule. So when section 33 of the Act abolishes Housing Benefit - the safeguard you were referring to is abolished as well affecting both social and PRS tenants and landlords. Why? Because HB/LHA are the same!

                      So stop looking for LHA in the Act or indeed the associated regulations when they're published - instead look for Housing Benefit and it should make perfect sense.

                      Lastly, there are many "gas bag" politicians this week licking their wounds and realising being arrogant and blowing hot wind catches up with you. "Lettings Commenter and Blogger" take heed!!

                      HBadvocacy
                      www.hbadvice.co.uk
                      www.welfarereformsadvice.co.uk

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Apparently this is the letter going out in the next few weeks:

                        https://viewer.zoho.com/docs/tUaAu

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Andy,

                          Well done! I tried and failed to create such a link.

                          Hbadvocacy
                          www.hbadvice.co.uk
                          www.welfarereformsadvice.co.uk

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thank the person on MSE Forums

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hbadvocacy View Post

                              To reinforce my point I would refere you to one of your own posts you refer to Regulation 95 of the Housing Benefit Regulations, 2006 - commonly known as the 8 weeks rule. So when section 33 of the Act abolishes Housing Benefit - the safeguard you were referring to is abolished as well affecting both social and PRS tenants and landlords. Why? Because HB/LHA are the same!
                              So were the Government wrong/lying when they said this? -

                              http://www.guardian.co.uk/housing-ne...enefit-arrears

                              Landlords will receive housing benefit payments directly if their tenants fall into arrears under the universal credit system, the government has confirmed.

                              And more fully here;

                              http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/minis...14-09-11.shtml

                              The projects will also look at potential safeguards for landlords.

                              For example, we want to have in place a trigger which switches the housing payment to direct to landlords if tenants start to get behind with their rent.

                              How this trigger will operate – whether it’s by number of payments, amount of money, length of time – are all questions for the demonstration projects.

                              But what isn’t in any doubt is its existence.

                              The trigger will be there to protect landlords from persistent failure to pay and to reassure your lenders by providing a safety net so income streams remain secure.

                              We also want to make sure landlords don’t miss out if a tenant does consistently miss rent payments. For instance, this could mean providing a mechanism for reclaiming rent arrears from Universal Credit payments – again this is something the demonstration projects will investigate.

                              Comment

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