Sharing Universal Credit (UC) claimant information with social landlords and local authorities help them provide better support to tenants.
This is according to public sector payment solutions provider allpay, which claims such information could help assess and provide targets support to tenants in relation to managing their financial affairs.
“By enabling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to share up-to-date information on who has applied for – or is in receipt of – UC, housing associations and social landlords can better channel resources towards supporting tenants and residents,” claimed Ross Macmillan, market intelligence consultant at allpay.
“The findings from the Government’s Direct Payment Demonstration Projects (DPDP), which ran between 2012 and 2013, clearly demonstrated that where the direct payment of housing benefit has been implemented, landlords saw the contact that they have with tenants rise considerably as a direct result of the support that was needed,” he added.
According to Macmillan, key areas needing support are financial products and payment methods as research has revealed many tenants prefer budgeting and paying bills with cash.
He claims that there should not be assumption of a ubiquitous understanding of banking products and services, such as the different between a Direct Debit and a debit card.
“Supporting the programme with increased payment choice is critical; and part of that is about landlords making their existing payment channels as clear, simple and attractive to their customers as possible,” claimed the market intelligence consultant.
He added that Direct Debit is not necessarily the best option for everyone, but research has revealed that when flexibility surrounding frequency, collection date and ease of set up is offer, take up rates are higher.
Macmillan notes that a number of landlords in the demonstration project were able to support tenants when such flexibility existed as collection dates can be set up sooner after tenants receive their UC.
He claims this give the tenant confidence they have enough money in their account to cover rent collection and sharing this claimant data with help this process, helping landlords reduce the risk of arrears and residents from incurring unpaid transaction charges.
“The relationship between landlords and their tenants is evolving. There is some really positive work going on around the country where landlords are supporting their tenants with education, assistance and resources and any plans to aid in this process should be looked at favourably,” claimed Macmillan.