There has been a 7% drop in just a four-month period this year in the proportion of landlords renting to tenants on Housing Benefit. Data gathered by the National Landlord Association shows that 34% of landlords were renting to such tenants in March, but only 27% were doing so in July. This is the inevitable impact of the benefits cap and the new Universal Credit which is steadily being introduced across the country. Not only are these changes to the benefits system reducing the amount many tenants receive, they are stopping the direct payment of rent to the landlord from the local council. This has a knock-on effect on landlords’ confidence, shown by the fact that 51% of landlords will now not consider letting to tenants on benefits.
Rentify realise that this is a tricky time for landlords letting to, and planning to let to, benefits tenants. We know that the majority of landlords cannot afford arrears to build up nor do they need the extra worry when there is so much else to deal with. Still, we urge you to have an open and honest discussion with your tenants about their situation and how the changes are affecting them before making any final decisions. Fundamentally, it is up to the government to restore landlords’ confidence in the benefits system, especially considering the extent to which it relies on private landlords to provide housing to those on low incomes.