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Landlords to drop LHA claimants following benefit cuts - survey

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Landlords to drop LHA claimants following benefit cuts - survey

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Published by Julien Tremblin for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government

Right to Buy hits Westminster rents Right to Buy hits Westminster rents

A majority of private landlords say they can’t afford to rent to housing benefit claimants because of recent cuts to the local housing allowance (LHA), a new survey reveals.

The research conducted by the National Landlords Association showed 53% of landlords believe cuts in allowance have made it unaffordable for them to rent to people on benefits.

More than two-thirds of private landlords (69%) say they can’t see themselves letting to LHA tenants in 2015.

Cuts in allowance have also seen maximum rent benefit payments reduced to the 30th percentile of local average market rents, rather than the previous 50th percentile.

The Government has already extended the shared accommodation rate – which offers people under 35 a shared room rate rather than a rate for a full flat - forcing those people into shared accommodation.

As a result, nearly half of landlords (47%) believe tenants aged under 35 will be hit hardest by the changes.

The Government has also recently floated the idea of scrapping housing benefit altogether for people aged under 25 – an "outrageous idea", according to charities.

David Salusbury, Chairman, National Landlords Association, said: “It’s concerning that so many landlords appear to be planning to withdraw from the LHA market within just three years, as they can no longer afford to let their properties to tenants at the reduced benefit rate.

“In view of the pressures on housing, the private-rented sector will inevitably play an increasingly important role in providing housing to LHA tenants, particularly those aged under 35, who aren’t able to access other housing.

“It is vital that local authorities work with landlords to provide the support services needed to help this demographic, as many are forced to move into shared accommodation.”

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