MPs Argue that Tenants should have a say in how Universal Credit is Paid

15 September 2012 Categories: News

MPs Argue that Tenants should have a say in how Universal Credit is Paid

A parliamentary debate earlier this month saw MPs arguing about the proposed method of payment for the new Universal Credit benefit that is due to be introduced next year. The new benefit will take over from Local Housing Allowance and will be paid directly to the claimant rather than to their landlord or the letting agent managing their rental property – just as LHA payments are paid now.

During the debate, Labour MP Alex Cunningham raised the concern that the new Universal Credit could result in large rent arrears being accrued if paid directly to tenants, and that claimants living in private rental properties should be given the option to have the payments made direct to their landlords. Benefits minister Iain Duncan-Smith however had a different opinion and said that benefit claimants shouldn’t be treated like children who can’t manage their pocket-money.

He also said that claimants would benefit more by showing them trust, and that by doing so they would be more likely to cope better when they return to work.

Both the National Landlords Association and the charity for homelessness, Shelter, have lobbied to give claimants the ability to choose how the benefit is paid, but so far they have had no joy.

So it just remains to be seen whether the current rent arrear problems will get better or worse with the new Universal Credit benefit.