The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has criticised the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after it announced yesterday that the process for paying back rent arrears through Universal Credit deductions has been suspended.
Third-party deductions, which see Universal Credit claimants have money they owe taken directly from their monthly benefit awards, have been put on hold until 10 May.
A spokesperson for the DWP said that the decision to suspend deductions from Universal Credit payments for rent arrears, service charge arrears, and council tax arrears is designed to streamline its operations due to a sharp rise in applications.
But Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, opposed the decision.
He said: “At such a difficult time the priority should be to do everything possible to prevent tenants getting into rent arrears in the first place by ensuring tenants are able to continue paying their rent in full.
“This means that the government should ensure benefits cover the full cost of rents, end the five week wait for the first payment of Universal Credit and pay the housing element of the Credit directly to landlords.”