More PRS Landlords Want Eviction Of Tenants On Benefits

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Benefit Blackspots Created By Eviction Of Welfare Tenants

Benefit Blackspots Created By Eviction Of Welfare Tenants

Benefit Blackspots Created By Eviction Of Benefit Tenants

Eviction of tenants claiming housing benefit or Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the latest symptom of a worrying trend that could see unemployed and low-paid tenants excluded from many areas of the UK, says homeless charity, Shelter

The UK is beginning to witness benefit blackspots as tenants claiming benefits are forced to move area after being evicted from private rented sector properties by disgruntled landlords facing increasing rent arrears.

Housing and homelessness charity, Shelter, has warned that some communities could become claimant-free zones, after the Guardian revealed on Saturday that one of the UK’s largest landlords had sent out eviction notices to every tenant in his rental properties who is receiving housing benefit or local housing allowance (LHA).The outcry from Shelter comes after Fergus Wilson, who owns almost 1,000 properties in Kent, had informed letting agents that he would now refuse to accept applicants who are claiming housing benefit.

The charity said that a number of other private rented sector landlords had already taken similar action moving towards renting to working tenants only, raising the issue of tenants claiming benefits being pushed in the least desirable locations throughout the UK, and forced into poor quality housing.

Director of policy and communications at Shelter, Roger Harding, said: “It is very worrying. If this policy continues over the long term, we will see blackspots in the country where people on housing benefit simply cannot find anywhere reasonable. There’ll be areas where, if you lose your job or become ill, and you try and fall back on housing benefit, it won’t be enough for tenants to afford somewhere. Unless you have savings, you’re going to have to move area. There are 500,000 people currently claiming housing benefit in the private rented sector, many of whom were at risk as rents increase and benefits are squeezed. It is an awfully large number and includes pensioners and people in work who can’t afford their rent. This could affect any area where future rents really outstrip inflation and where there is a lot of pressure on the rental market.”

Mr Wilson’s action provoked a furious backlash on social media sites after he justified his decision to exclude tenants claiming benefits on economic grounds, stating that he prefers to rent to eastern European migrants because they default on rents less than single mothers on housing benefit, whom he described as a group for which sympathy is disappearing.

Shelter warned the Government years ago that the impact of its housing policies would result in benefit claimants being adversely affected. The charity said the Government had told them its welfare reform decisions would ensure PRS rents would start falling, whereas rents have in fact gone up.

In a statement, Shelter said: “Keeping a rental property could soon become even harder for families who desperately need the short-term safety net that housing benefit is designed to provide. The private sector rental market is broken and no one wins.”

Statistics from the National Landlords’ Association (NLA) published in December 2013 revealed that the number of private rented sector landlords dealing with tenants claiming housing benefit has now halved to just one in five.

If you have tenants who are behind with rental payments and need them evicted in order to save your rental business then call Legal4Landlords on 0800 840 7133 

This was written by Mike Clarke. Posted on at 11:30 am. Filed under Eviction. Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments here with the RSS feed. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.