Landlords can no longer afford to rent to housing benefit tenants according to a survey by the National Landlords Association published this month. The survey found that more than half of landlords said the cuts have made it unaffordable to rent to those on benefits, with 69% saying they don’t expect to let to housing benefit tenants by 2015. Unsuprisingly, many believe that tenants aged under 35 will be hit hardest by the changes: as we have reported previously, the age at which single tenants can claim for more than a single room has been raised from 25 to 35, forcing many younger claimants into shared accommodation. This comes as website Easyroommate reported a surge in the number of people looking for flatshares in the first 3 months of this year, with the majority of new registrants being professionals, not students.
As has been widely reported this week, some London councils also appear to be having difficulty finding enough accommodation in the private rented sector to house benefit claimants locally. Newham Council has written to housing associations across the UK asking for help with accommodation in a move which Labour politicians have branded “social cleansing”. The row grew when housing minister, Grant Shapps said that this was blatant electioneering on the part of Labour councils in advance of this week’s local elections and pointed out that a quick look on Rightmove suggested there were thousands of rented properties available locally below the cap levels. That may well be the case but many landlords refuse to accept housing benefit (“DSS”) claimants regardless of the rent level, preferring to rent only to “professionals” in employment, as a quick browse on RentFair shows.
We would be interested to hear your views. As a tenant, have you had difficulty finding a landlord who accepts housing benefit? If you are a landlord, would you consider accepting a tenant on benefits?
Don’t forget, you can search on RentFair for properties where housing benefit payments may be accepted. Just tick the ‘DSS accepted’ box when you search.