Universal Credit driving landlords away from housing benefit tenants

Confusion as to how welfare reforms will tackle rent arrears will cause larger landlords to reduce the number of properties they let to those on housing benefits, according to new research.

The British Property Federation (BPF) has found that nearly four in ten (39%) of larger landlords are planning to reduce the number of properties they let to welfare recipients over uncertainty surrounding Universal Credit.

Ian Fletcher, director of policy (real estate) at the BPF, said: ‘We urge DWP to implement alongside Universal Credit, a system to inform private landlords when a tenant has a change of circumstances that affects their housing benefit. This basic step will provide reassurance to a landlord and reduce any confusion regarding delayed payments or applications for alternative payment arrangements.

‘The challenges of housing supply are long term issues that will inevitably see the private rented sector continue to be relied upon to house welfare recipients. Universal credit is the most radical change to affect the payment of benefit in several generations and if private landlords do not feel confident they are going to receive rental income they will vote with their feet and not engage with it.’

The BPF is calling Government to clearly explain the implications of Universal Credit to landords and help ensure tenants do not fall into arrears in the first place.

Article courtesy of Local Gov

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