A new online system for landlords and lettings agents to receive direct payments from tenants on Universal Credit is set to be launched before the end of this year after a successful trial.
Caridon Landlord Solutions, which has worked alongside the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), said it has been piloting a new system to replace the controversial and time consuming UC47 forms.
There is no release date set yet, but it is due for launch by the end of this year and Caridon Landlord Solutions said the system will cut the processing time down from in excess of three weeks to just two hours in some cases.
Currently, landlords and lettings agents who wish to apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) to have the housing element of Universal Credit paid directly to them, have to download and fill out the UC47 form from GOV.UK.
The form can be submitted by post or email but this has created several issues that contribute to landlords avoiding renting to tenants on Universal Credit.
Sherrelle Collman, managing director of Caridon Landlord Solutions, said: “This current system can be complicated as there are two types of UC47 forms.
“The first is the secure form, which can only be submitted by post or via email. However, to submit by email, landlords must have a secure email address recognised by DWP, including gsi or gov.uk owing to the fact the form requests personal details such as a tenant’s National Insurance number and the landlord’s bank details.
“This helps to ensure that all parties comply with data sharing regulations as set out under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
“The non-secure form can still be submitted via email, however, the process can sometimes be slower as the claimant’s case manager has to contact the landlord to request bank details, because due to the non-secure data certain types of personal information cannot be submitted in this way.
“Caridon believes that the paper forms are taking weeks to be processed, sometimes getting lost along the way, and all the while rent arrears are mounting up.
“We have been working closely with DWP, not only to get payments made directly to landlords where necessary, but also to speed up the process so that landlords have greater confidence in the system.”