Presentation on theme: "Preparing for Welfare Reform and Universal Credit"— Presentation transcript:
1Preparing for Welfare Reform and Universal Credit
2Quick Introduction.....“Settled Housing Solutions align local authority services so they can pro-actively work with the Private Rented Sector(PRS)”
3Quick Introduction...Settled Housing Solutions (SHS) was formed in 2007SHS is made up of housing and homelessness practitioners, qualified trainers , property investors, software developers and financial servicesTo date we have delivered over 30 PRS related projects across the UK.In 2009, invited by the Department for Communities and Local Government to contribute to PRS related policyTwo local authorities a week are signing up to our SettledSure Insurance Scheme.
4Setting the Scene PRS is set to dominate the future of housing By 2020, 27% of the population will be rentingLocalism Act now provides new powers for local authorities to offer tenants a PRS housing optionPRS landlords and letting agents are key stakeholders in local authorities future housing strategiesLandlords just want to be treated as equal partners
5Welfare Reform – Why Change? To make the benefits system more efficientTo remove the barriers to workEncourage tenants to take greater control of their lives and financesSmoother transition in and out workSave the Govt ££££?
6Housing Benefit has already changed ! From April 2011:Caps on weekly LHA ratesLHA set at the 30th percentile of rents in each local areaFrom January 2012:Shared Accommodation Rate increased to under 35From April 2012:LHA rates frozen and updated annually by reference to the Consumer Price Index (CPI)
7What's planned for 2013 and beyond... April 2013 Welfare Benefit Cap will be introduced Applies only to households out of work Benefit Cap will be £500 per week for couples and lone parents £350 per week for single adults.
8What does this mean? £111.45 - Income Support A non-working 2 parent household with 3 children£ Income Support£ Child Tax Credits£ Child BenefitLocal Housing Allowance (if living in a 3 bed property)Total of £545.76From April 2013, the amount they will receive will be capped at £500The family will be worse off by £45.76 per week if they decide to stay where they areRemainder will be deducted from their Housing Benefit.So a landlord receiving direct LHA payments will see a drop from £ per week to £ per week.
9Options for Tenants Take up work (16/24 hours) Reduce non-rent expenditureApply for Discretionary Housing PaymentsMove to cheaper accommodation
10Universal Credit The future is digital! No more local authority HB Teams!Phased in between12 million HB claims need to be converted to UC
11Payment of Universal Credit Universal Credit will be paid monthlyPlan to pay tenants directly (At the moment!!)Claimants will be responsible for managing all household costs, including rent payments
12Local Authority-led Pilots Key: LA-led pilotsPathfinder preparation projectsDirect Payment Demonstration Projects2013 focus pilots - Twelve pilots will run from autumn 2012 to September 2013 to explore how local expertise can support residents to claim Universal Credit focus pilots will look at: -encouraging claimants to access online support independently - improving financial independence and managing money - delivering efficiencies and reducing fraud & error; and - reducing homelessness - (some pilots will focus on service issues in rural areas) Post 2015 focus pilots – will look at the longer term role for local authorities in supporting Universal Credit claimantsNorth LanarkshireWest DunbartonEdinburghDumfries &GallowayOldhamWakefieldWiganWest LindseyRushcliffeShropshireMeltonBirminghamOxfordTorfaenCaerphillySouthwarkNewportBath & NESLewishamNorth Dorset
13Learning networkBi-monthly Learning Reports may be found in Learning Network a Network run jointly byDWP, DCLG and Chartered Institute of Housing and hosted on Chartered Institute ofHousing web-site:Key early findings included the following:Engaging with and assessing the needs of claimants has proved more protracted and more resource intensive that anticipated. Landlords do not have access to information that would enable them to assess their tenants’ readiness for direct payment.There is a general lack of awareness of wider welfare reforms among tenants participating in the projects and the role of support partners in project is crucialProject areas have been able to manage the additional resource demands to date and it is evident that setting in place safeguards.Sheffield Hallam University have been commissioned to evaluate the projects. A LearningThe Lessons report will be published in January next year and, following completion ofthe project next summer, a final project evaluation will be published in the late summer orearly autumn of 2013.
14Possible impact on landlords and letting agents LHA rates are now less reflective of the local rental market.There may be an increased risk of rent arrears.Larger households move to cheaper parts of the country
15So what should landlords and letting agents do? Be Pro-Active and Don't PanicAsk your tenants if they have received any letters from the DWP about the changesAre your tenants currently in or out of work (16/24 hours a week)Jobcentre Plus and local authorities are now providing support for households effected by the changesFind out what your local authority can offer you in the way of advice and incentives
16SettledSure – Housing Benefit Insurance Policies Local authorities, insurance underwriters, practitioners in Housing Benefit and DWP Reform and the PRS all consulted during development stagesProtects landlords from rental losses, legal fees, theft and malicious damageNow being used as an ‘Landlord Incentive’ by local authorities in return for accommodation
17Thank you for listening alan@settledhousingsolutions Thank you for listening Mobile