Landlords 'must prepare for Universal Credit'

Landlords must ready themselves for the rollout of Universal Credit, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

The RLA is responding to the surprise announcement by work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith that Universal Credit will be introduced across the country by February 2015, following what the government describes as a “successful” pilot scheme in the North West.

The controversial new scheme is the foundation of the government’s welfare policies. The RLA warns that Mr Duncan Smith’s announcement is “very important news” for landlords.

The Universal Credit system rolls six benefits into a single monthly payment. Its introduction has been controversial, with those in receipt of housing benefit overwhelmingly opposing the programme.

The RLA has warned that its Universal Credit trainer does not believe that the Department for Work and Pensions is in a position to roll the scheme out by the new February deadline. The Association suggests that its team in Bolton is struggling to cope with even straightforward claims under the new system.

It is thought that the Universal Credit rollout will affect some 1.6 million tenancies. Read more about Universal Credit for landlords.