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The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed in a letter that they will introduce a new system to pay social landlords directly.
The new system will see social landlords receive the housing cost element directly from the DWP at the same time that tenants receive their Universal Credit payments.
It also enables landlords to access payment information via the Landlord Portal, where a managed payment is in place. This will mean that tenants and housing associations will have an accurate picture of any credit or debit on the rent account.
In a letter to housing associations, Neil Couling, Universal Credit SRO, says: "We will begin rolling this feature out to all Portal landlords, commencing next month.
"This means that going forwards you will receive the housing cost element at the same time as your tenant receives their UC payment, as well as allowing you to access payment information via the Landlord Portal, where a managed payment is in place.
"This should greatly improve your ability to manage payments and reconcile UC housing costs, helping you to support your tenants during this period.
"We are currently finalising our roll-out approach, and the team will contact you two weeks before your go-live date, when you will also be issued with detailed guidance to help you use the new feature and obtain support if needed.
"During testing we found that most landlords found this was sufficient time to transfer to the new payment method and that the process was quick and easy with few needing support.
"If you are aware of any particular reasons why you may require more than 2 weeks’ notice, please let the team know and we will take this into account when developing our schedule."
If you want to see more updates and exclusive briefings around Universal Credit and welfare, HQN's Rent Income Excellence Network has all that, and more.