Last night saw 50 + concerned members of the Guild of Residential Landlords attend a forum in Cardiff to hear more about how welfare reforms could affect their business and in particular Universal Credit.
Given the recent articles on Welfare Reform and the sharp increase in rent arrears seen by the DWP demonstration projects, in particular one of the participating RSL's who quoted an increase of arrears from £20k – £140K in seven months.
Whilst it may be considered part of a social landlords role to support tenants with financial inclusion, this is not the case of private landlords who traditionally have less contact with their tenants.
Jocelle Lovell – Project Manager for The Wales cooperative Centre said:
“It has never been more important for private landlords, especially those being paid under safeguarding to start working with their tenants to support them through the changes, in order to protect their cash flow. Using the credit union rent account allows the tenant to be paid directly, whilst ring fencing the rent and transferring it to the landlords account. Protecting the rent whilst introducing the tenant to other "responsible ” financial products, savings etc.. and to become more financially independent"
Private landlords play a crucial role in providing access to housing to help local authorities meet their statutory obligations. If landlords don't prepare now for the changes ahead we could see more and more of them refusing to let to people on benefits which would have a disastrous impact for both local authorities and the Welsh housing crisis.
Adrian Thompson- Director Guild of Residential landlords said:
“There are so many mixed messages in the public domain regarding Welfare Reform, its no wonder that both landlords and tenants are confused. It's great to see that organisations like the Wales Cooperative Centre working with private landlords to find solutions. In particular the credit union rent account which has been received with great interest by our members”
For more information about the credit union account, contact Jocelle Lovell on 02920556193.