The government has announced a new online system that will pay private landlords of those on Universal Credit directly.
It is hoped the change will reduce the number of rent arrears involving tenants on Universal Credit.
Recent research revealed that almost two-thirds of private landlords with tenants receiving Universal Credit have experienced them going into rent arrears.
Based on responses from over 2,200 landlords, the Residential Landlord Association’s (RLA) research exchange, PEARL, has found that 61% of landlords with tenants on Universal Credit have experienced them going into rent arrears. This is up from 27% in 2016.
The study found that on average Universal Credit tenants in rent arrears owed almost £2,400, which is up almost half – 49% – compared to last year.
Chris Town, vice chair of the RLA, said: “Improving, and speeding up, the process by which payments can be made directly to the landlord has been a central part of the RLA’s campaign on Universal Credit.
“Anything that helps this will give landlords much greater confidence in the system and ensure tenants have greater security in the knowledge that their rent payments will be met.”
With reports also that Amber Rudd will announce that the current benefit freeze will not continue beyond next year, Town added: “Independent research commissioned by the RLA has recently warned that the freeze in housing benefit rates has been a key driver of homelessness from the private rented sector.
“Unfreezing them will enable benefits to keep up with the reality of market rents.”