25th March, 2021
Earlier this month I sent you a bulletin explaining how DWP expects, tenants of social landlords to report their April 2021 rent charge, even if there is no change to the amount.
Why is not clear, but for the first time, tenants who don’t experience a change in rental charge, are being asked to confirm this by responding to an online “To-do”.
Included in my note was a link to a DWP produced chart providing a pictorial view of the Q & A’s.
Shortly after it was circulated, I was contacted by one of my HA clients, who make rent adjustments on the 15th of March each year. As this was not covered in DWP’s original circular, I sought its advice. The response I received stated:
“In their case the tenants will still receive a ‘To-do’ in early April, asking if their rent has changed.
If they have already reported this (as they should have done) then they can simply answer “NO” to the ‘To-do’ request and that should remove this from journal.
However if a tenant has not reported the housing cost change, effective from the 15th March, they must respond to the ‘To-do’ by saying “NO” to – “Has your housing costs/Service charges changed on the 1st or 5th April?” and input the effective date of change i.e. 15th March.”
Alternative dates, prior to 1st April, can use the same approach to effectively report the new rental charge and effective date.
You may recall, I also pointed to:
“A welcome piece of good news is, DWP have agreed, that if your tenant fails to report, within 14 days of their Benefit Assessment Period ending, you are to receive your own “To-do” via the Landlord Portal, enabling you to report the rent & service charge figures, thus avoiding the possibility of your most vulnerable tenants losing out, as they have in previous years.”
Finally, there is no equivalent annual process for rent increases after April. For both social and private sector landlords, it’s simply a case of the tenant reporting, ideally, via his/her journal, after the effective date (not during the BAP as it will be incorrectly rejected by IT system).
If, for any reason, the tenant fails to do so, and an APA is in place, you can and MUST report the change. See DWP’s website advice to landlords (social & private)
At paragraph 10.2 of the landlords’ Advice it states:
“Whilst a MPTL is in place the landlord must notify the department of any changes which a landlord can be reasonably expected to know which might affect the claimant’s entitlement to Universal Credit and the amount awarded.”
An increase or reduction in rental charge, is clearly a factor that must be reported and acted on, by a Decision Maker superseding the existing award to reflect the new charge.
To fully understand DWP’s process, please examine both this and my earlier bulletin.
Any questions, email bill@ucadvice or phone 07733 080 389.
UC Advice & Advocacy Ltd