How tenancy support is reducing rent arrears for landlords
24th November 2021
Capital Letters deals with the benefits systems so you don’t have to, says Therisa Tidy, whose team has recovered over £700,000 this year
Landlords letting their properties to families that receive benefits need to become experts in Universal Credit – or work with people who are. The benefits system is a regular payer once claims are set up but a change in circumstances can delay payments.
We always advise landlords to be prepared for a delay in rent after a new tenant moves in while reassuring them that they will get paid. One east London landlord summed up the experience:
“Normally payments start coming when they are due, but sometimes tenants cannot pursue their claims on their own. In this case, I asked Capital Letters to intervene so they could pursue this case professionally. Now the whole arrears have been cleared and I am very thankful to them for providing this service.”
Some tenants may need help sorting out their claims. In a survey before the pandemic, 82% of landlords reported rent arrears after a new claim for Universal Credit or if the tenant had moved to Universal Credit (UC) from housing benefit. The number of people claiming UC has doubled during the pandemic and arrears in the private rented sector have increased, according to the latest government figures.
But not every landlord signed up to become an expert in the benefits system! So what are their alternatives?
Capital Letters works with landlords and two-thirds of the councils in London to find private rented properties so families can move out of temporary accommodation. Tenants sign an AST agreement with the landlord and Capital Letters pays a non-returnable cash incentive when the property is let.
But the service doesn’t end there. Capital Letters has over 25 tenancy sustainment advisors who help tenants and landlords sort any problems throughout the tenancy. This year our team has secured a total of £773,000 in back-dated payments – most of which went straight to the landlord. Tenancy sustainment advisor Waheed recently secured nearly £10,000 for a landlord after arrears built up over six months.
“The landlord called us because the tenant couldn’t deal with the stress of making the claim,” says Waheed. “Sometimes when the landlord comes knocking, the tenant doesn’t know how to answer.”
In fact, these long-running cases are unusual. Our team usually finds a solution before the landlord even knew the tenant needed help.
“Using our knowledge of the benefits system, we sort out claims so payment can start within weeks of the tenant moving in,” says Omolere, another advisor. “By responding quickly, we can usually prevent any arrears building up.”
So what are the advantages of working with Capital Letters? Firstly, we make the process easy. We can help with claims for direct rent payments, which gives landlords peace of mind. Finally, as Omolere and Waheed explained, we make sure Universal Credit applications are set up correctly, minimising arrears.
Therisa Tidy is a tenancy sustainment service manager. Let Capital Letters find your next tenant and receive cash payment. Please contact us on info@CapitalLetters.org.uk or 020 3906 7460.