Moves by the Government to change Universal Credit so direct payments for a tenant's rent can be made to landlords more easily have been welcomed.
The Residential Landlords' Association (RLA) has been campaigning for the move since the introduction of Universal Credit has led to a big leap in the number of tenants falling into rent arrears.
Now the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that landlords will now no longer need their tenant's consent when they apply for 'alternative payment arrangements' (APA).
Until now, private landlords have needed the explicit consent of their tenant to do this which means their tenant could refuse the consent or delay giving it.
This led to rent arrears being accrued by the tenant as a result.
Department will introduce payments direct to the landlord
Now that the DWP has scrapped this requirement and a landlord now only needs to prove that their tenant has two months or more of arrears and the department will introduce payments direct to the landlord.
This was the situation under housing benefit previously.
The move is the result of campaigning from the RLA and the association's vice-chair, Chris Town, said: “This is a major step in the right direction and will improve for landlords and tenants the operation of Universal Credit.
“Having said that, more reform is needed and we will work with the DWP to ensure Universal Credit works better for tenants and landlords alike.”
In addition, the Scottish Government is offering tenants there the opportunity of altering the frequency of their benefit payments from once a month to twice a month and for the housing cost element to be paid directly to their landlord.
Tenants fear rent rises in 2018
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that tenants around the UK are worried about their rents increasing in 2018 with those in Scotland and London being worried most.
The findings from credit data firm Equifax reveal that 55% of tenants in Scotland and 52% of those in London are expecting rents to rise and around one in three other English regions are expecting rents to grow as well.
However, 42% of tenants say they are unable to pay any extra rent, which compares to 11% of mortgage holders should rates increase for them.
A spokesman for Equifax said: “With so many renters concerned about finances should their rent payment increase shows that it's now more important for them than ever before to stay in control of their money.”