Scottish Government considers direct payment of benefit to Landlords
Universal Credit (UC) is the UK Government’s new benefit system which is replacing Local Housing Allowance (LHA) payments for rent.
Implementation of UC is continuing across the UK although volumes are low at present and cases are mainly single unemployed people with no children. There is not expected to be a significant rise in UC cases in Scotland until 2017.
As you will probably be aware the Scotland Bill is currently going through the parliamentary process. When passed this will give Scottish Ministers flexibility over when and to whom Universal Credit (UC) is paid. So far the Scottish Government has focussed on the first two priority Scottish flexibilities, enabling UC to be paid more frequently than monthly and giving social landlords the choice of receiving direct payment of the housing element.
Ministers are keen to explore with stakeholders their views on offering tenants in the private sector who are in receipt of UC the option of direct payment of their housing costs to their landlord. At present landlords can ask for direct payments if there are rent arrears and DWP can also instigate direct payments to the landlord where the tenant is considered vulnerable, e.g. through debt or addiction issues, and these options will remain.
The Scottish Government would like to hear the views of landlords on offering tenants the option of direct payment to their landlord. ~
Would providing the tenant with a choice on this help or hinder you? Do you foresee any particular issues or risks that would arise?