91% of landlords less likely to rent to those on benefits via Universal Credit…

91% of landlords less likely to rent to those on benefits via Universal Credit…

A recent survey has revealed that the majority of Landlords reject the Government’s welfare reform plans, via Universal Credit.

A survey of over 1,000 landlords carried out by the Residential Landlords Association and the Scottish Association of Landlords found that 65.2 % of respondents do not support the Government’s plans for Universal Credit.

Asked whether there are sufficient numbers of shared properties in their areas to cope with the extra demand, as a result of a decision earlier this year to increase from 25 to 35 the age at which housing benefit claimants can claim only for a room in a shared property, 54.6 % said there was not.

Since the 1st of January 2012 thousands of tenants have been on the move…

62.3 % of respondents said they would not lower rents in return for direct payments.

But the most concerning result was that when asked how they would respond if the ‘right to demand’ direct payment became only a ‘right to request’, 91.6% said it would make them less likely to rent to those on benefits.

The results come as one housing association, included in the Government’s programme piloting the direct payment of housing benefits to the tenant rather than the landlord, called on ministers to enable tenants to choose who should receive the housing element of universal credit. Speaking last week Kevin Dodd, Chief Executive of Wakefield and District Housing issued a press release in which he said, “We are strongly of the opinion that under any regime tenants should have choice in how to manage their own finances.

“For those who are able to manage their own finances then direct payment as part of universal credit could give them greater financial responsibility. However, for those less able to manage their own finances, there needs to be the option to pay housing costs to the landlord.”

Commenting on the results, Alan Ward, chairman of the Residential Landlords’ Association said, “These results clearly show deep concern on the part of landlords about the direction that the Government’s universal credit policies are taking.

“The uncertainty being created by Ministers’ failure so far to issue regulations concerning the circumstances under which payments would be made directly to landlords is causing uncertainty for landlords and concern about renting to those on benefits.

“Ministers have already allowed payments to be made directly to landlords in Northern Ireland ( Landlords & tenants in Northern Ireland breath a sigh of relief! ) and now even housing associations they picked to pilot payments to tenants have deep concerns about the impact of the policies being pursued.

“We call on Ministers to abide by the election commitments made by both parties in the coalition and trust tenants to make their choice over who should receive the housing element of universal credit.”

John Blackwood, director of the Scottish Association of Landlords, commented,It is clear that the uncertainty around the Government’s plans for universal credit is having a damaging impact on the private rented sector.

“Tenants on benefits need protections in place to ensure their rent is paid when things get difficult, whilst landlords need assurances that rent arrears won’t mount up. The basis of trust upon which the sector depends is being eroded by the Government’s plans.

“Following his election in 2010, David Cameron pledged a new culture of respect for the devolved institutions. Having respected the wishes of Northern Ireland, it is time that the same respect was shown to Scotland whose Government has called for the same thing.”

Click to view the full results of the RLA/SLA Universal Credit Survey.

Until the same concessions are granted to England, Wales and Scotland (where tenants continue to have the right to decide if their rents are paid directly to their landlord) Landlord Referencing Services believe that the only true way to be able to reduce the amount of tenants in arrears and at the same time protect good tenants from bad neighbours is for all UK landlords to network with one another.

Benefits of Landlords and Letting Agents joining LRS (free).

Benefits of Tenants joining LRS (free).

Related topics:

Universal Credit Explained in full.

Womens refuges win exemption from Universal Credit.

PETITION: Universal credit to scrap direct rent payments to landlords.

Landlords denied Universal Credit Pilot results…

Universal Credit will fail to encourage full-time work?

Universal Credit | Future income of housing associations at risk

How can Credit Unions help Landlords & Tenants?

Author: News @ Tenant Referencing

Keeping you up to date with landlord and property topics. Send in your story to media@landlordreferencing.co.uk

2 Comments

  1. Any tenant could become a benefit claimant at any time in the present economic climate and people working tend to believe State benefits will cover their needs as they live in a “different world”. The Government seem to be assuming the changes they are introducing will encourage people to work and not rely on benefits.

    I have spent my career advising families on the best ways to plan for financial security and to avoid the risk of penury which is how people will live in the future, if they do not have savings or a safety net.

    I know there are some people who have managed to fleece the benefit system in the past however they are on the minority and other people who need help are likely to suffer to avoid us all falling over a fiscal cliff…

    Tenants who are working need to know how to protect their income and that’s what I preach and I know from experience that the day will come when they will need to claim and the relief of not having to rely on benefits is a tonic to anyone in that position.

    http://www.rentplan.co.uk – the safety net for tenants

  2. Hi
    I have rented to students,families singles and shares. I found the only real
    arrears I experianced was from people on benefits. why is it not right to
    Pay the rent straight to the landlord for what that money is meant for
    A roof over their head. if somebody is just not managing their money
    Giving them a large sum of money does not mean they are suddenly
    Going to become an expert on managing their money. Not only is it
    unfair if the Landlrd is not getting his rent ( that is what the money is
    for and it is not the tenants money after all ) but it would be so easy for
    The person to spend it on something else, too big a temptation !
    You must remember us Landlords are giving people a roof over their
    Head and if like me they keep the property up to a high standard it takes
    Money which we must know will be there to pay the bill.
    PS What is not right about paying the money straight to the Landord
    A confused Landlord.