Universal Credit . . . It’s here.

UC or HB

As from Wednesday 14th November 2018 – if you are making a new claim for help with your housing costs in Sandwell, you can no longer claim Housing Benefit. You need to apply for Universal Credit and its housing cost element, unless you are in one of these categories:

• You have three or more dependent children
• You are of pension age or above
• You live in special exempt or temporary accommodation (as defined by the local authority)

If you are in one of these categories only, you can apply for Housing Benefit via our online form here.

Everyone else should apply on the online Universal Credit form here.

We will keep blogging more information about Universal Credit and how it will affect us here in Sandwell.



Need to advertise a property but don’t want to stump up advertising costs?



Our new website lets landlords advertise properties in Sandwell. It is completely free of charge.


There are some terms and conditions but there are no catches. If you want to save yourself some advertising costs, go to:


or email the Liz, the blog’s co-editor for more information



Energy Performance Certificates.

Light bulbs

There was an interesting article in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph about the costs of upgrading properties that have an EPC rating below ‘E.’

If this is one of your properties – please have a read.


Apparently – this is likely to affect up to 200,000 landlords.

Don’t forget – you can no longer let out a property on a new tenancy with a rating below E. Also please remember to make sure that your existing EPCs don’t need renewing and if you have an empty property – you must show the prospective tenant a valid EPC before they accept the property. You should also get them to sign to say that they have seen this. If you don’t – you won’t be able to serve a Section 21 to end the tenancy.

There’s general information on EPC’s here:



Even better . . .

Welcome to our home

You might have seen our post last week about how tenants can get white goods or electrical items at discounted prices and / or with affordable credit terms via ‘Homekind’ at https://www.homekindshop.co.uk/home which has links to our local credit union 6Towns Credit Union.

Well, Malcolm Keyte of 6Towns has been in contact with me to let me know that Homekind actually do more than I told you about. They have all sorts of household items – not just electrical goods and also do ‘tenant packages’ which might be suitable for someone moving into a new home. So whatever your tenant needs for their home, Homekind might be a good place to look at first. You’ll understand my need to put in a disclaimer here – this blog can’t recommend or endorse products or services – but having said that – do please have a look.

Something worth emphasising is that although Homekind has been set up by a group of social housing providers – you are welcome to use Homekind, whether your home is in the private or social sector. It could be just what your tenant needs.

If you have ever been to our landlord forums – you might have already seen Malcolm, or ‘Malc’ as we know him, talking about 6Towns and how they can help people on Universal Credit manage their money. Especially rent money. This is a message that Malc is still very keen to get across. So if you are a private landlord with tenants likely to go onto Universal Credit, (same disclaimer as above) you might also want to have a look at the 6Towns website http://www.sixtowns.co.uk