Landlords call on government to help improve benefit confidence

Ryan Fowler

December 5, 2017

The government needs to do more to address the concerns of landlords when it comes to letting properties to those on benefits, research from the Residential Landlords Association’s (RLA) has found. 

It said universal credit had made landlords more willing to rent homes to claimants but warned that more needs to be done.

Research by the Residential Landlords Association’s (RLA) research facility, PEARL, found that 36% of private landlords have more confidence to rent to tenants on universal credit as a result of changes announced in the Budget.

Landlords pledge to support vulnerable tenants

However, the same survey found that 73% of landlords still lack confidence that they can recover arrears that can occur when tenants move across to universal credit.

As MPs today debate universal credit, the RLA is calling for action to ensure landlords can reclaim any rent arrears built by universal credit claimants who move out of their property. At present there is no mechanism to do this. It is looking for private landlords to be treated the same as those in the social rented sector by ensuring they can access basic information such as whether and when a tenant is receiving universal credit. This is important to enable landlords to work with tenants to organise suitable rent payment schedules.

Chris Town, vice chair of the RLA, said: “Ministers have clearly been listening to concerns and we welcome their reforms to universal credit which have given landlords more confidence in the system.

“That said, there are still problems around rent arrears and recent tax hikes mean that landlords are less able to cope with difficulties in collecting rents.

“Without further reforms we cannot say ‘job done’ on universal credit.”

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