Landlords Reject Tenants Claiming Benefits Due To Rent Arrears
Landlords Refuse Benefit Tenants
Universal credit is responsible for tenants on benefits falling behind with rent, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
The RLA said 54% of landlords had reported tenants on the benefits go into arrears in the last year.
The BBC reports that Debt charity Turn2Us warned universal credit will lead to “more rent arrears, more evictions and more homelessness”.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said landlords had reported seeing fewer claimants in arrears in the last year.
David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), said it was taking too long for people struggling on universal credit to get the help they needed.
“The system only provides extra support once tenants are in rent arrears. Instead, more should be done to prevent tenants falling behind with their rent in the first place.
“Only then will landlords have the confidence they need that tenants being on universal credit does not pose a financial risk they are unable to shoulder.”
Tenants have also experienced difficulty if finding landlords who will accept benefits claimants.
David Samson, welfare benefit specialist at Turn2Us, said the large number of people on universal credit in rent arrears was “a devastating example of the crippling issues with the benefit”.
“The five week wait for universal credit married with the reality that it is just less generous than previous benefits will only conclude with more rent arrears, more evictions and more homelessness unless the government takes immediate action to fix some of the glaring problems.”
Chris Town, a landlord in Yorkshire for 31 years, told the BBC that his tenants are “all worried about universal credit; they’re terrified they’re going to lose the benefit”.
The experienced landlord said the introduction of the benefit since 2018 had caused many problems.
“You give people time to sort things out, but I’m waiting three months for arrears in some cases.”
He added that there are problems getting access to information. “Up to now with housing benefit we’ve dealt with the local authority directly which means information was easy to access.
“Under universal credit it’s not as accessible and you’re not really sure what’s going on.”
Universal credit has replaced six benefits, including housing benefit, and merges them into one payment. It’s gradually being rolled out around the country, but there are concerns that some claimants have seen their overall support cut.
RLA research revealed that 68% of landlords said there was a shortfall between the cost of rent and the amount paid in universal credit.
Are you a landlord with tenants on benefits or a tenant claiming Universal Credit? Money Tips would like to hear your views.
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