Universal Credit: Hundreds Of Families To Be Evicted As Letting Agent Warns It Can’t Cope With Arrears

Hundreds of families on Universal Credit are being evicted because their landlord says the new benefit will put them in rent arrears, Jeremy Corbyn has revealed.

The drastic move, which was highlighted by Corbyn during Prime Minister’s Question time, will force parents and their children out of their homes in the New Year.

The Labour leader said the eviction notices were yet more proof that the roll-out of the controversial Universal Credit system had to be put on pause.

The revelation came as Labour’s Frank Field warned the Government it still faced a Commons vote on the benefit tomorrow despite reports that the Treasury was set to reduce its six-week waiting time.

During PMQs, Corbyn revealed that lettings agent GAP Property has sent ‘section 21’ notices to tenants in Lincolnshire, giving them two months’ notice that they may be evicted.

The letter, passed to HuffPost UK, states the company “cannot sustain arrears at the potential levels Universal Credit could create (this affects the vast majority of our tenants)”.

Warning its tenants that the new benefit is to be rolled out in North East Lincolnshire on December 13, the letter ends: “This is an extraordinary event that requires both you and us to take extraordinary measures.”

Corbyn revealed he had been passed the letter on Tuesday. “The agency is issuing all its tenants with a pre-emptive notice of eviction because Universal Credit has driven up arrears where it’s been rolled out.

“The letter – and I quote – says GAB Property cannot sustain arrears at the potential levels Universal Credit could create.”

Labour pointed out that the National Landlords Association has found just two in 10 of their members would let to a tenant who receives universal credit or housing benefit. One major housing association also reports the arrears rate for those claiming the new benefit is around three times higher than for other tenants.

Corbyn said: “Blanket notices of eviction handed to tenants because of Universal Credit are totally unacceptable, should shock us all and bring shame on this Conservative Government.”

May again refused to pause the nationwide roll-out of the new benefit, which replaces six different individual benefits with one payment.