Image Promo description

Register to use our site and access free newsletters, book events and lots more.

You don't have to be a member to use our site. Already registered? Login here

Become a member today

The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Universal credit: Key risks to rent collection, arrears control and debt recovery explained


Universal Credit is completely different to the current Housing Benefit scheme. Whilst in some cases, the new scheme is potentially more generous; for the most part, it's, from a landlord’s perspective, very much more labour intensive, technically more complicated, significantly more risky, financially punitive, posing a much greater threat to tenancy sustainment, than housing benefit ever has.

So what’s causing the problems?

A host of anomalies in the new scheme, damaging to rent collection, are being uncovered every week that passes. This course has been specifically tailored for social landlord staff. It’s been designed to address the common concerns and problems; the likely effect this will have on your tenants, and your organisation’s collection arrangements, rental income and arrears management.

Throughout the day we will encourage delegate participation. We use practical exercises and case studies, drawn from the "live” sites, to highlight the main features of Universal Credit. You will leave this course well informed on how best to maximise tenant entitlement; minimise landlord problems and reduce the potential for rental income loss.

Learning Outcomes/objectives

This course programme will cover:

 When, where and how universal credit will be introduced

 Who will be able to claim it, now and in the future

 How will it be claimed; the importance of the web based system, the “claimant commitment” and how you can support tenants during the process

 Data sharing, information about live claims, rent increase uprating processes etc.

 How claims will be assessed, with various examples of the calculation methodology, including the “housing element”; non-dependent charges; under-occupation deductions; benefits cap

 How & when will it be paid, including the use of bank, Post Office and Credit Union accounts and variations to the default positions?

 Backdating of claims; changes in circumstances; the “whole month rule”; penalties for late reporting; overpayments, recovery and late notification “fines”

 Threat to “housing element” when couples split up; two households combine; tenant’s move home without giving notice; temporary absences, hospital, prison etc.

 Alternative payment arrangements - How to apply for these and "third party deductions"?

 Conditionality and sanctions – how these might affect the tenant’s willingness to cooperate; may prejudice your ability to APAs and TPDs; and might result in the “housing element” being misused

 DWP maladministration - how to challenge DWP mistakes/errors; how to pursue “compensation” using the “complaints process” and referrals to the Parliamentary Commissioner

 Appeals – what can and can’t the tenant/you appeal; what is a mandatory reconsideration; how and when do first-tier tribunals play a part

Who should attend

Any member of staff involved in housing management, finance, providing advice and support to tenants and those responsible for collecting arrears and complying with pre-action protocols.

Trainer Info

Bill Irvine was head of benefits, revenues and advice services at one of the UK’s largest councils; acted as local government advisor to the Housing Benefit Standing Committee, Westminster; acted as a welfare rights advocate; tutored on Housing Benefit/rent arrears issues on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Housing. He currently operates UC & HB Advice & Advocacy acting as representative of tenants, private landlords and housing associations in their respective housing benefit/Local Housing Allowance negotiations with councils and, rather uniquely, represents them in disputes before first and upper-tier Tribunals. He also writes regular articles on Universal Credit/housing benefit/Local Housing Allowance related topics and responds to landlord’s queries and complaints via various web-based forums, including his own website. Bill was one of the principal witnesses at the DWP Select Committee, Westminster hearings, relating to Local Housing Allowance in January 2010, where some of his recommendations were adopted as “good practice” in subsequently produced DWP Guidance.

Dates & Locations

5 October 2017, Glasgow


Standard price = £260 + VAT

Contributing organisation = £210 + VAT

CIH Member = £235 + VAT

Booking Procedure

You can view our online booking procedure here.

Purchase Orders

Please note that if your organisation requires a purchase order number on the invoice, you MUST input this at the point of booking.

Terms and conditions

Please read our terms & conditions carefully before booking.



Join today

We’re here to help you make a difference. Join CIH today and discover your potential


Fire safety

All the latest info and fire safety resources for housing professionals


The new housing apprenticeships

With a century of experience equipping housing professionals with the skills they need to do the brilliant work they do, we can help you make the most of the new housing apprenticeships – whatever stage of the journey you are at.