One year on from the roll out of Universal Credit (UC) in
England, new research carried out with the NFA shows that 79% of
council tenants in receipt of UC are in rent arrears. The report
reveals that prior to claiming UC only half of those households had
pre-existing rent arrears.
Between April and May 2016, ARCH and the NFA surveyed 20 stock
retaining councils and arms-length management organisations (ALMOs)
about their experiences of UC. As of 31 March 2016, these
organisations had just over 3,000 households on UC.
It follows a
previous survey conducted over October and November 2015 when
these same organisations provided initial data about the rollout of
UC in their areas.
As at 31 March 2016, all 20 organisations were seeing new claims
from single people without children being processed under UC in
their area. In addition, seven were also beginning to see claims
from other groups (e.g. couples and/or households with
The good news is that the proportion of households in receipt of
UC in arrears of rent fell by 10% compared to the previous figure
of 89% in October 2015. However, the report shows that respondents
housed almost 2,500 households who were receiving UC and are now in
arrears. Of these:
- 56% owe more than one month/four weeks' of rent
- 46% are subject to an alternative payment arrangement
- On average they each owe £321, higher that the £295 owed by all
households in arrears
- UC households made up 4% of all the rent arrears owed to the
landlords, despite making up fewer than 2% of the landlords'
- 13 of the organisations who participated in the survey were
able to provide comparisons of their tenants' rent accounts before
and after they went on to UC.
Crucially 49% of UC claimants now in rent arrears did not have a
record of arrears before moving onto UC.
View the full
report and survey findings.