To sign up for the Landlord Law Newsletter (and get a free guide)>> Click Here

Category Archives: Social housing

Massive extra costs to social housing providers identified by Southwark’s direct payment benefits test

Southwark CathedralPrivate landlords have for some time had to put up with the rules which provide for payment to go direct to the tenants. Only in two circumstances -

  • where the tenant is deemed ‘vulnerable’ (which has to be specially applied for) or
  • if the tenant is over 8 weeks in arrears of rent

will payment be made to the landlord direct.

Social housing providers have, until now, still had payment made direct to them in the majority of cases. However with the benefit changes planned by the government, this is set to change.

The reasoning behind this is to ‘empower’ tenants by getting them to take responsibility for their lives and financial affairs.

However, as a benefit manager I was listening to at a talk last night rightly pointed out, for persons with chaotic lifestyles, there are better ways of training them to manage their finances than giving them a large sum of money once a month.

Southwark’s project has been focusing on what actually happens in this situation. Here are their findings:

  • Only 60 per cent of the tenants identified for the pilot were successfully moved onto the scheme
  • There is a lack of understanding about personal finance among some tenants and some were unable to obtain a bank account
  • 11 per cent of those originally identified for the pilot refused or were unable to engage with the council, and 14 per cent were later deemed too vulnerable to take part

Following on from this, Southwark estimate that when direct payment is borough wide, their rent arrears could increase by 14 million, with extra administration costs of £400,000.

Cllr Richard Livingstone said

What has been exposed by our pilot is that social landlords are likely to face such high levels of debt that direct payments could bring social housing as we know it to an end

A worrying prospect.

Private landlords are unlikely to want to take up the slack. Already they are fleeing from benefit tenants like the wind, and even those prepared to consider the idea may well find their their mortgage lender prohibits it.

Worrying times indeed. You can read more about the project here.

Southwark Cathedral picture from flickr

Good news for social housing workers

The Front Liner

Announcing the Frontliner talking shop blog where social housing workers can ask questions of Ben Reeve Lewis and eligibility expert Sue LukesContinue Reading



The Landlord Law Blog from Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


Legal Services

Legal services are provided via Tessa's online service Landlord Law. Some advice services are provided by Tessa, other legal services are provided by specialist housing firm Anthony Gold.


Disclaimer

The purpose of this blog is to provide information, comment and discussion. Although Tessa, or guest bloggers, may from time to time, give helpful comments to readers' questions, these can only be based on the information given by the reader in his or her comment, which may not contain all material facts. Any comments or suggestions provided by Tessa or any guest bloggers should not therefore be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice from a qualified lawyer regarding any actual legal issue or dispute.


Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice or perceived as creating a solicitor-client relationship (apart from the Fast Track block clinic service - so far as the questioners only are concerned).


Guest bloggers

Please note that any opinion expressed by a guest blogger is his or hers alone, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tessa Shepperson, or the other writers on this blog.


Other websites from Tessa

Lodger Landlord | School for Landlords | Google+ | Your Law Store | Google | Landlord Law facebook page | Tenancy Agreements Manual | How to Evict Your Tenant website | the Which Tenancy Agreement Guide | Landlords Tips | Tenants Tips