Highland Universal Credit claimants urged to act ahead of annual rent increase
Seven affordable housing providers across the Highlands are urging tenants claiming Universal Credit to update their claim this April 1 to ensure their entitlement covers their annual rent increase for the year ahead.
Those who fail to do so will face a shortfall in their housing entitlement, putting them at risk of arrears.
The call comes as increasing numbers of tenants transition to the new benefits system, which requires claimants to manage their entitlement directly with the Department for Work and Pensions via an online system.
This marks a significant departure from the old ‘housing benefit’ system, where rent was paid directly to the landlord, allowing any changes to be communicated on the tenants’ behalf.
The seven Registered Social Landlords include the Highland Council, Albyn Housing Society and Cairn, Lochaber, Lochalsh and Skye, Hanover and Pentland Housing Associations.
Leader of the Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson, said: “Universal Credit is now rolling out across the Highland region at pace, and this has required both housing providers and customers to adopt a very different approach to managing rent.
“We understand that the system can be complex, which is why we have trained our staff to support customers with any questions or concerns they may have about the system. This latest piece of advice comes as annual rent increases come into force on April 1st, which will need to be reflected in claimants’ entitlement to ensure their rent is covered.”
Speaking on behalf of the RSL’s, Jennifer Soley, customer services manager at Albyn Housing Society, said: “We’re here to help, so if any tenant would like advice and assistance on managing their journal, then please get in touch with your landlord.”