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We already know social landlords have been complaining about tenants falling into rent arrears because of Universal Credit.

This site has already commented on the Northern Housing Consortium, which warned that two-thirds of members said rent arrears were increasing, with 73 per cent of them blaming UC.

And of course the Financial Conduct Authority has said UC claimants have been turning to loan sharks because the so-called benefit does not provide enough money for claimants to pay their bills.

This means they must pay back the loans at enormous rates of interest, putting themselves even deeper into debt and putting all their possessions at risk.

Now we find that private landlords – who traditionally rent at higher prices than their social housing counterparts – are also concerned about tenants falling into arrears.

So not only is Universal Credit a failure because it pushes tenants into debt rather than ensuring their financial security, but it also pushes landlords into financial difficulty when claimants are unable to pay the rent.

Who, exactly, is it supposed to be helping?

More than half of private landlords say their tenants on Universal Credit have fallen behind on their rent payments in the last twelve months.

A survey by the Residential Landlords Associations (RLA) found that 54% of private landlords have tenants in receipt of Universal Credit who have rent arrears, putting them at increased risk of potential repossession.

Of these, 82% said that the arrears only began after a new claim for Universal Credit or after a tenant had been moved to the Credit from housing benefit.

And 68% of landlords said that there was a shortfall between the cost of rent and the amount paid in Universal Credit.

Landlords can ask the Department for Work and Pensions for rent to be paid directly to them, instead of to the claimant, but the RLA says it takes an average of 8.5 weeks for this to be set up.

The problem have become so dire that 62% of landlords fear their tenants won’t be able to afford rent payments when they are moved to the new benefits system, which is expected to be completed by December 2023.

Source: Half of private landlords say tenants on Universal Credit have rent arrears

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