ARCH and the NFA have been invited to meet Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister with
responsibility for housing at the Department for Work &
Pensions (DWP) to discuss the findings of our latest welfare reform
Our report, published in July 2018, 'Carrying the debt - measuring the impact of
welfare reform on tenants and landlords' tracked the
impact of the Universal Credit roll-out on landlords and
Although pleased that the government has introduced a number of
improvements to the Universal Credit (UC) system that we have
called for in previous reports, including removing the seven-day
waiting period, this latest research showed that the arrears
situation has not changed significantly and issues highlighted
previously have not been resolved.
- Average rent arrears for households in receipt of UC (£520)
were one and a half times higher than arrears in general (£328).
Nearly three quarters of UC households were in rent arrears (74%)
compared with 26% of all households.
- The situation has not changed significantly since 2017 and many
of the same problems remain.
- For those organisations tracked over time there has been a
total increase in debt of 12% up to £43.6 million; 25% of this debt
is from UC households even though they only make up 4% of total
- The length of time it can take for tenants to clear rent
arrears built up in the transition to UC, with the knock-on effects
for both the tenants and landlord, is very concerning, with
evidence that it can take up to 24 months to clear the debt.
The meeting with Justin Tomlinson at DWP will take place at the
end of October and follows on from the meeting with Housing Minister Kit Malthouse
MP, scheduled for earlier in the month. Both meetings
reflect ARCH's growing reputation in the sector and across the