Landlord Forum

Here’s the flyer for next week’s Landlord Forum. We hope to see you there.

Forum - 28.09.18

Oliver & Liz.



Universal Credit: get your tenants on YouTube

Univisal Credit - You Tube

As you hopefully know by now – full service Universal Credit (UC) comes to Sandwell in November.

If you have tenants who are currently receiving Housing Benefit (HB) – most wont notice the change straight away – but people making new claims or who have significant changes in their circumstances will often need to apply for UC rather than HB. This may well be the case if you have someone signing up for a new tenancy with you from November onwards.

There is so much information out there about UC that it’s easy to get a bit lost or to know which are the important details that will affect you and your tenants or clients. We will be linking to different things we think are important over the next few weeks – but for now – I thought these YouTube clips that the DWP has put out are very useful.


There are clips on:
• Making a claim
• Setting up an online Universal credit Account
• Verifying your Identity
• Getting an advance payment.

They are short and clear and worth watching.

If you do have a tenant likely to be affected, – you might want to have a conversation with them about what they need to do. Obviously, we have to respect people’s choices around their own privacy – they might simply not want to discuss the matter with you which could have all kinds of implications. But it is important that they know things are changing fast.

I’ll just say one thing about advance payments. These are now generally quick and easy to get. If you do encourage a tenant or client to apply for one though – make sure they understand that they have to think about their rent costs when they receive an advance payment. If they do get a lump sum paid into their bank account – they need to think very carefully about how long that money will need to last and how much of it is needed to cover their housing costs.

I know I’ve plugged it twice already on the blog (and will probably do so again) but our landlord forum next week – 2.00 pm 28th September at Sandwell Council House, Oldbury will include representatives from the DWP who can answer landlord concerns about UC – so if you are interested in this subject, do please try to come along. If you can’t – get YouTubing.




The blog is back from its summer holidays

We have a busy period with a lot of important changes in housing coming up, which we are going to try and cover in as much detail as much as possible at the next landlord forum on 28th September.

Those issues include:

  • The extension to HMO licensing
  • A new regime of civil penalties for landlords breaching the law
  • Possible selective licensing for private rented accommodation (not just HMOs) This could mean your properties.
  • The long awaited roll-out of Universal Credit in Sandwell, which is happening this November.

We will have experts from the DWP present to answer your questions about protecting your rent money and what to do when things go wrong.

The forum will be 2pm until 4.30pm 28th September at Sandwell Council House in Oldbury. I hope you can make it. (We realise that on a Friday afternoon, some people might not be able to stay till the end – if you need to sneak out early, that’s fine. We’ll still be very happy to see you).

I also want to mention a change for landlords who currently have tenants receiving Housing Benefit who might have an overpayment. Where a tenant is overpaid, but continues to receive HB, we will recover the overpayment by deductions form their ongoing entitlement. However – if their entitlement stops – we will send them an invoice. They can pay back the debt by instalments and we now offer them the facility to do this by Direct Debit.

Setting up a Direct Debit means they are far less likely to miss a payment – so they can keep up to date, which is in everyone’s best interests.

If you are a landlord or a housing or advice worker dealing with tenants you have an overpayment issue, please direct them to our webpages where they can see all the repayment options.

And of course it’s always best for everyone if the tenant tells us promptly about any changes in their circumstances so that the overpayment doesn’t happen in the first place!


Gas safety – and the blog’s going on summer holiday

We are fast coming up to Gas Safety Week, which is a key reminder about really essential safety issues for any landlord with a property using gas, which means just about every landlord.

I’m not going to go into detail here, I’ll just shout out the key reminders:
• Only ever use a Gas Safe registered engineer
• Make sure your gas safety certificate is always up to date
• Never put off dealing a with any safety issue concerning gas. Just don’t!

For more information though, please see the Gas Safe Register website.

On a happier note, your two blog editors, myself and Liz are about to go on our summer holidays so you won’t see any blogs for a week or two.

Just for clarity – our respective holidays are in two separate countries!