There has been much discussion and debate about this and the effect it will have on the rental market but having been tested in the North of England it is now being rolled out across the country. However the roll out, at this time, will only affect new claims from single people, who would otherwise have been eligible for jobseeker's allowance, including those with existing Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credit claims.
Within both the Sedgemoor and Mendip Districts UC will be introduced on 16th March 2015. Within the South Somerset District UC will be introduced on the 20th April 2015.
UC is set to replace all the claimant's various benefits, jobseeker's Allowance, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credits, into a single monthly payment. The housing element of UC will be determined with reference to local housing allowance rates which are the same rates that Housing Benefit uses at present.
If you are a landlord who doesn't let to people on housing benefit and have no intention in doing so then these changes will not affect you unless your tenant has the misfortune to lose their job then having knowledge of how UC works, how to claim for arrears, having a knowledge of discretionary housing payments, or engaging the services of an Agent with a good knowledge and understanding of such matters can save you hundreds of pounds in legal fees, eviction costs and re-letting fees; and allow an otherwise good tenancy to continue.
At the time of writing the transitional period to move all claimants, including families, across to UC is not currently being determined by any particular timetable and it is likely to be a long, gradual, process, which will take many years to complete. When a housing benefit claim is going well everything is absolutely fine but when an issues occurs and this could be where a new partner, currently in receipt of UC, moves in, at that time HB will finish and UC will take over the claim.
We are not advocating don't let to people in receipt of HB, but if you are unsure or you let through an Agent make sure that they are sufficiently knowledgeable and capable in protecting and looking after your interest without hitting the panic button too soon.
Busybee Lettings has 30 years of property and tenancy management, we have a, knowledge, understanding and experience of working within the current housing benefit regulations in assisting tenants and protecting the landlord's financial interest and are committed to developing and maintaining the same, knowledge, understanding and experience, in respect of UC.