Landlords have every right to decide who signs a tenancy agreement for their property and most people wouldn’t blame them for wanting a reliable tenant. However, there is a danger that landlords are stereotyping would-be tenants based on the media perception of benefit claimants.
Benefits Claimants Make Good Tenants
There is a stigma against benefits claimants that they are bad tenants. This is simply an unfair stereotype that doesn’t ring true for the majority. Most people claiming benefits have fallen on hard times because of a relationship breakdown, redundancy, or illness. For others, housing benefit supplements their income while they study and work part-time. This doesn’t make them bad tenants. On the contrary, they are just as likely to be “good” tenants as someone earning £100k a year.
Many landlords have a blanket ban on benefits claimants, single mothers, and families with kids. This excludes a large number of the very people who rely on the private rental sector for housing. Banning large sections of the community also pushes families out on to the street if they fall on hard times through no fault of their own.
Treat Every Would-Be Tenant as a Human Being not a Stereotype
It is vital that landlords don’t pay attention to stereotypes. Instead of saying “no”, check a tenant’s references, meet them, and listen to your gut. If this person looks and sounds like a decent person, and their references and credit score check out, why not give them a chance? They could turn out to be the ideal tenant.