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Universal Credit explained for Private Landlords & Letting Agents

This Zoom course has been developed in response to requests from Landlords & Letting Agents, many of whom, for the first time, find themselves accommodating tenants seriously affected by COVID 19 or through the imposition of short-time hours or redundancies, caused by lockdown measures and their impact on jobs and the economy.

Operating in a COVID environment, with numbers of UC claimants, doubling in a matter of months to 5.6M, and the majority DWP’s staff working from home, has, if anything, made the process of claiming, making claiming commitments, and validating evidence to support the tenant’s claim, increasingly difficult. Tenants are being expected, by DWP, to make claims online, notify changes in circumstances & exchange information, relating to the claim, regularly with Work Coaches & Case Managers via online journals. Getting through on the phone is becoming increasingly a problem. Even if you get through, it’s a bit of a lottery whether DWP’s Customer Service officer will be able & willing to assist.

You don’t have to be an expert in order to assist tenants, but understanding the claim process and how best to make & maintain the claim, via online journal, can avoid delays, suspensions, cancelations, related payment issues and disputes that can lead to debt quickly accruing.

The course content and Q & A style delivery will provide delegates with the necessary knowledge to assist their tenant clients navigate the many obstacles posed by this new flagship benefit. It will also aid you in your attempts to secure the critical rental revenue via Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs) and improve your ability to communicate with DWP’s key managers and when things go wrong escalate things to DWP hierachy or the Tribunal Service.

The following course has been specifically developed to assist frontline staff respond to these challenges. It can be delivered via Zoom or Microsoft teams if that’s your preference, in a 2 hour session, from 11-1pm, or 2 – 4pm. Ideally, we would like to restrict delegate numbers to no more than 10 per session, to allow maximum delegate participation.

Universal Credit explained for Private Landlords & Letting Agents

Sessions will be delivered via Zoom and will normally last 2 hours.

Content includes:

*How the claim is assessed, validated and progressed to payment stage.

*How to avoid claims being suspended or cancelled and when ths occurs, how this can be challenged and backdated to date of the tenancy

*How the “housing costs element” is assessed using the “size criteria”; under 35 years old “exceptions” and how UC and HB differ in this respect.

*When does UC entitlement start; what’s an adavance payment; what’s an LHA run-on; what’s meant by the “Benefit Assessment Period”; when does entitlement start/end and will I receive payment up to the end of the tenancy.

*Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs); How to secure the housing costs element from the start; Why consent is NOT required; how does one apply to have the housing costs redirected; How you can you reduce your rent arrears; When am I likely to secure payment?

*How should I handle new tenancies; end existing tenancies; what happens when partners separate, leaving the reamining occupier to assume the  liability, in order to remain;

*What happens when tenants are imprisoned, go into hospital, residential care or go abroad temporarily

*How best to communicate with DWP; How to complain and escalate disputes to ICE/Ombudsman/Tribunals

*Q & A session

Universal Credit explained for Private Landlords & Letting Agents

This short course has been designed for landlords and letting agents accommodating tenants reliant on LHA and/or Universal Credit. The trainer, an ex Government Adviser on Housing Benefit and Tribunal representative will focus delegates attention on the key elements of the scheme and explain how to both maximise your rental income and minimise rental loss.

To maximise participation, sessions will be limited to no more 10 delegates. The trainer will deliver the course using a PP presentation, group discussion and case examples. Participants will be expected to download Zoom’s App, use a suitable PC or laptop with effective access the internet. Participants will receive an email link, a few days before the start of the course, to allow access to the event, and after the event will be provided with a copy of the PP presentation that includes helpful links to other advice, guidance and related videos.

Bill Irvine

Bill spent 30 years in local government, holding senior positions in Social Work, Housing & Finance. He retired as Head of Housing Services (Benefits, Revenues & Advice) at one of the UK’s largest councils. In 2008 he became a Board Member of Trust HA Ltd and the SFHA and the following year set up a new consultancy business “Housing Benefit Advice & Advocacy” offering advice, training and advocacy to RSL’s and private landlords throughout the UK.

In January 2010 he was invited to provide written and oral evidence to the DWP Local Housing Allowance Inquiry, Westminster, with some of his recommendations being adopted as “best practice”. He now represents RSL’s, Private Landlords, and their tenants before First and Upper-tier HB tribunals, with some of his cases becoming new “caselaw”.

Since January 2012 he has been at the forefront of Universal Credit training for both SRS and Private Sector landlords, on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Housing, Residential Landlords Association, individual Housing Associations and Charitible bodies, UK wide.

He now owns and operates www.universalcreditadvice.com.  And publishes regular updating bulletins on Universal Credit to more than 1300 registered subscribers