Warning from landlords after they refuse to take on people awaiting Universal Credit claims


Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

There has been a warning of more people needing emergency housing after landlords refused to take on tenants awaiting Universal Credit (UC) claims.

Around 60 members of the Eastern Landlords Association (ELA) from Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft met to discuss the impact of the introduction of Universal Credit in the area.

Chairman of the ELA Paul Cunningham said those present stated the situation had got worse since last April when UC was first introduced.

He said members of the ELA pointed out that the numbers of reported rough sleepers is at an all time high and both Yarmouth and Lowestoft now had soup kitchens in order to feed the homeless due to UC.

Vulnerable tenants faced having their homes repossessed and all present stated they would not take a tenant who was on the benefit due to the six to 12 week wait for payment.

In a letter written to borough councillors, Mr Cunningham said all those present stated they no longer accommodate such tenants.

Mr Cunningham said those in arrears would be issued with a section 21 repossession notice which gives eight weeks to leave.

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The letter continued: 'If private landlords continue with this regime the council will have to house these unfortunate people in emergency accommodation at a cost to the tax payer.'

A DWP Spokesman said: 'The best way to help people pay their rent is to help them into work, and under UC people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the old system.

'Our research shows that the majority of UC claimants are comfortable managing their budgets, and we're working with local authorities and landlords to get extra support to those people who may find themselves in arrears.'

In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: 'All those who apply to the borough council for housing or temporary accommodation are assessed on their individual circumstances, in line with the council's policy and relevant legislation, to determine their eligibility.

'It is therefore not possible at this stage to indicate what impact any decision of private landlords in respect of private tenants claiming UC would have on the borough council's housing service.

'The council will continue to monitor the situation.'

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