Universal Credit ImageAll housing associations are in a period of uncertainty as they adapt to the latest welfare reforms, one of which is the introduction of Universal Credit. Universal credit affects the way in which residents receive their benefits, as it will combine a number of different benefits into a single monthly payment, from which the resident will be responsible for paying their rent. Universal credit will replace Income-based Jobseekers allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Housing benefit. This means that the rent is not now paid automatically to the landlord, so the resident will need to keep money aside from their monthly payment to ensure their rent is paid on time.

How can housing associations prepare for Universal Credit?

When Universal Credit was piloted in six areas of the country there was a big rise in rent arrears as some tenants failed to pass along the money for their rent. It is thought that the number of missed rent payments could treble under the direct payment to tenants, which will have a financial cost to the association. This can impact the housing association building new homes or investing in other community improvement projects. Housing Associations also need to provide more support to their tenants, prepare for significant operational changes and undertake more financial profiling of their tenants.

Housing associations need to minimise the impact of Universal Credit by managing collections and arrears.  Dynamics CRM enables housing associations to identify vulnerable households, track trends in rent payment, predict arrears and provide tailored support. This means that there is an increased likelihood of rent being paid on-time, preventing problems before they can occur.

Dynamics CRM can improve the productivity of the arrears collection teams to ensure that late and missed payments can be followed up efficiently. They prioritisation of Arrears Cases is key to ensuring that the money comes in, and that arrears collections teams are chasing the right tenants at the right time.

With a 360 degree view of customer, arrears information is visible to all staff across the organisation, so that chasing arrears can become embedded in other operational workflows – for example, when a tenant phones in to request a repair, the Customer Service Agent will be aware that the tenant  is in arrears, and can take action accordingly. With full visibility of arrears cases, the key business KPIs for arrears can be accurately monitored, managed and met.

To find out how Esuasive can help housing associations can minimise the impact of Universal credit by using Dynamics CRM to manage collections and rent arrears, please contact us via: email info@esuasive.co.uk or call 01344 393 012.