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60% of landlords displaying 'No housing benefit tenants' in ads - survey

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60% of landlords displaying 'No housing benefit tenants' in ads - survey

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Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Local Government

60% of landlords displaying 'No housing benefit tenants' in ads - survey 60% of landlords displaying 'No housing benefit tenants' in ads - survey

Six out of 10 landlords are refusing to accept anyone on benefits, specifically stating ‘no housing benefit tenants’ in their adverts, according to a survey conducted by flat and house share website SpareRoom.co.uk.

A survey of more than 1,000 UK landlords has highlighted widespread negativity towards housing benefit tenants, with respondents citing unreliable, late or no payments as the main issues.

It found that almost nine out of 10 (87%) landlords have had problems with housing benefit tenants not paying the rent on time, with one in 10 (11%) admitting they have had tenants who stopped paying rent altogether.

The poll responses from landlords suggest that many of the problems surrounding housing benefit tenants have emerged since the system for receiving Local Housing Allowance (LHA) was changed in 2008 – when local councils started paying housing benefit to tenants rather than directly to landlords.

The majority of buy-to-let landlords (86%) surveyed were against the benefit payment changes, with half (51%) of those polled revealing they had mainly experienced rent issues with housing benefit tenants since the 2008 changes to the system came into force.

As part of the survey, landlords were asked why they would not rent out their property to housing benefit tenants. Almost one third (30%) said non-benefit tenants were more reliable, while 47% said they did not want the hassle of dealing with payment problems.

According to the poll, problems caused by benefit tenants included late payments, not paying at all, issues arising from the suspension of benefit payments and damage to the property. More than half (58%) of respondents said they had experienced more than one of these problems.

The survey found that three-quarters (74%) of those landlords questioned said they would not take a tenant on housing benefit even if the tenant had a guarantor.

Despite all these issues, housing benefit tenants make up a significant proportion of the UK rental population, with a third (34%) of landlords surveyed currently having these tenants in one or more of their properties, whilst 45% said they had previously taken in this type of tenant.

Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom.co.uk, said:  “The Coalition Government’s planned welfare cuts to housing benefits, coupled with the lack of affordable housing in the UK, could have a devastating impact on families and individuals relying on the state for help with living costs. But it seems that landlords, who have had bad experiences with housing benefit tenants, are reluctant to help ease the pressure caused by a rental property shortfall, favouring private tenants instead.

“The move to change the way Local Housing Allowance was paid in 2008 was designed to give those on housing benefits greater responsibility for their finances, but what this poll shows is that the change has had overwhelmingly negative repercussions for British landlords.

“It’s clear from this survey that a shake-up of the current system of paying housing benefit to the tenant is desperately needed, and reverting back to the old structure, where landlords receive rental payments directly from the council would be a step in the right direction.”

 

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