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Private tenants 'still in the dark' about Universal Credit - research

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Private tenants 'still in the dark' about Universal Credit - research

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Bill Payments, Universal Credit

Private tenants 'still in the dark' about Universal Credit - research Private tenants 'still in the dark' about Universal Credit - research

The majority of private tenants currently in receipt of benefits are either unaware (37%) or unsure (48%) about the implications of planned changes to the welfare system in the UK, according to research from the National Landlords Association (NLA).

Universal Credit, which be rolled out from October 2013, will combine all benefit entitlements into one monthly payment and will cap the benefit amount paid to each household at £26,000 per year.

The research findings also show that 86% of tenants are concerned about the impact of the Government’s plans to cut a further £10bn from the welfare budget.

The current level of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) entitlement varies in accordance with the rental costs of each area and also makes provisions for direct payments of benefits in regard of rent to the landlord.

At present 39% of landlords receive direct payments of rent but the new system will only permit direct payments to landlords in specific circumstances, such as following a pattern of arrears.

David Salusbury, Chairman of the National Landlords Association, said: “The implementation of Universal Credit and future planned cuts to the benefit system are clearly causing concern among tenants and landlords alike.

“The introduction of the benefits cap could leave many tenants and especially families unable to meet rental costs in some places, meaning no option but migration to other areas of the country or – in the worst case – leaving them homeless.

“Private landlords play an essential role in providing good quality affordable housing for benefit recipients. However, if they do not have the confidence that rent will be paid to them, and cannot be certain of direct payments where necessary, many landlords will conclude that it is simply too risky to continue letting to tenants on benefits.”

Ahead of the introduction of Universal Credit, the NLA is advising landlords, tenants and local councils to plan how they can work together to minimise any negative impact during the changeover.

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