IMPORTANT UPDATE - The PIMS Tenancy Agreement for New or
Renewing Tenancies has been updated to comply with the Tenant Fees Ban ENGLAND from June 2019
Wales Legislation Pending
"We are using the 8 Weeks Trigger for switchbacks. We saw a high volume of switchbacks earlier on in the project. To date, we have processed 389 switchbacks due to rent arrears, 95 of these are no longer live account for various reasons including stopped claiming Housing Benefit, moved and mutual exchanges. Of the 95 accounts no longer live, 14 have been switched forward following some intervention and support to help them manage their rent arrears. We have 294 live switchback accounts; no tenants have been evicted as a result of being on the Demonstration Project.
"However, comparatively 150 more residents who came onto the later phases of the Direct Payments project were found to require numerous levels of support and intervention from either the local authority or Landlords, to help them maintain their tenancies and payments.
"It also of note, that for those residents who were initially assessed as requiring no support, there were a number of them who went into rent arrears as the result of unforeseen personal circumstances during the project
"The 4 week switchback trigger is very resource intensive, leaving only 2 weeks to support tenants - hard to achieve in a project environment and impractical in business as usual. The close working relationship and data sharing between organisations proved vital to arrears trigger operation.
"With more tenants switched back than returned to DP, concerns are raised about the number who will successfully manage DP - although we are still learning how best to achieve this. If the UC support process fails, tenants could eventually face eviction with the financial risk falling to the Council to re-house them.
“Tenants’ lack of engagement remains a big issue, although fuller engagement especially about their financial circumstances has been achieved following switchback.
"Family Mosaic remains cautiously optimistic. Key issues are:
• Timeliness of rent collection
• Proactive early intervention
• Effective IT solutions
• Income Officers’ commercial awareness / negotiation skills
• Understanding our customers better
"All areas which we identified prior to the Project as key to success. At the time of this report, arrears (including switchbacks) are 1.6% higher than before the Project but 0.8% lower than the peak of 2.4% reached during the summer. The collection rate is now in excess of 100%.
"Collection costs are higher – contact rates in the Bron Afon DP tenant group are 150% higher than outside and 219% up for Charter; this has to be resourced .
"Effective data sharing with the local HB team remains key to success – arrears and contact needs would increase significantly without it.
"In September 2013, 28.7% of tenants had been switched back to payment to landlord, supporting baseline studies by Policis and CRESR which indicated 31% of tenants considered they would cope poorly with the direct payments. We are pleased that DWP is reflecting this learning in a more pragmatic approach to UC payment arrangements.
"Step change is needed in collection and payment culture – existing IT systems have proven to be barriers & new tenancies provide opportunities to address this.
"Some tenants have continued to cope well and around 25% of accounts are in credit at the end of the week that they receive Housing Benefit although this reduces quickly over the four week period. It compares with almost 50% of all WDH tenants who have a credit on their account at a similar time.
"It has remained an issue for tenants to understand the cycle of payments, particularly when ‘rent free weeks’ have occurred. However these weeks (four in each calendar year) when no rent is charged provide an opportunity for tenants to catch up on missed payments and there is clear evidence to show this occurring."
Immigration Act revised 2016 should a landlord or letting agent fail to ensure ALL tenants/occupiers have a righto reside for the duration of the tenancy then they may be fined £3000 for each breach. The Secretary of State may instruct the landlord to remove such persons without the need of a court order by way of reasonable force
Labour market enforcement - restriction on illegal migrants to work. A labour market enforcement undertaking (an “LME undertaking”) is an undertaking by the person giving it (the “subject”) to comply with any prohibitions, restrictions and requirements set out in the undertaking
Under section 42 of the County Courts Act 1984 it is possible for the Court to transfer a matter from the County Court to the High Court for enforcement but leave (permission) of the Court is required first. The transfer time varies from court to court and can take up to 28 days, but normally takes far less. An application to seek permission can be made either at the time of making the possession claim or after possession has been ordered.