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Landlords Shunning Universal Credit Tenants

Research carried out by the NLA has revealed that landlords are often unwilling to let properties to tenants in receipt of Universal Credit. Only 20% of landlords said they would accept a benefits tenant. This figure has dropped from the 34% of landlords who were willing in 2013.

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NLA Research

This decision might be fuelled, in part, by other research carried out by the NLA, which indicates two-thirds of landlords who have let their properties to housing benefit tenants have had to deal with rent arrears in the last year.

There are clearly many teething problems with Universal Credit, not least the fact that it can take up to six weeks for payment applications to be processed, which leaves vulnerable tenants in a difficult position and landlords out of pocket. Some tenants end up two months in arrears at the start of a tenancy, which is not the best way to begin.

DWP Feedback

The NLA has written to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee outlining their recommendations as Universal Credit is rolled out all over the UK. They point out that landlords are having problems communicating with the Universal Credit admin system.

There is also the issue of a benefits freeze, so the housing benefit portion of Universal Credit no longer covers the rent for many tenants. With rents rising in the private rental sector, many social tenants are priced out of the market and end up falling victim to unscrupulous landlords who only offer sub-standard housing.


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