Single working age claimants will start on Universal Credit from February next year according to an announcement last week, reports HBInfo, but refusing to take people on UC is going to be impossible in future as most tenants will be receiving it.

UC is paid to tenants monthly in arrears (not fortnightly as is the case with Housing Benefit). Expect rent arrears to rise with no certainty of direct payment to LLs at that point, because the payment is processed via call centres, not the local council. More applicants will be excluded with tougher demands to look for work or, if working, better paid work.

Tougher sanctions too, if claimants turn up late to the Jobcentre or fail to meet targets – their money (including housing costs) may be stopped.

UC will be the responsibility of Jobcentres using online systems and staff with no Housing Benefit or tenancies experience that local Councils have built up over more than 30 years. If you are operating HMOs for single people remember, UC includes tax credits, so refusing to accept recipients as tenants will be difficult – roughly 80% of tenants will receive some UC in the future including many in full time work increasing to 90% in less prosperous areas.

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http://www.hbinfo.org/ – The One Stop Shop for housing benefit and council tax benefit information…..