52% of private sector tenants on housing benefit have seen delays over payment from their local council, according to new research conducted by the National Landlords Association.
Affecting almost 3.3 million tenants, the figures show that in 36% of these cases, tenants stated that the delay in payments caused them problems with them being able to pay their rent on time.
These figures come on the heels of a report from housing charity Shelter, which predicts 80% of working English households claiming housing support will face a shortfall in benefits as a result of government plans to halt housing benefit for four years.
Presently, 73% of tenants claiming benefits said that they pay rent to their landlord when in receipt from their local council. The remaining 27% said that their housing benefit was paid directly to the their landlord by the council.
‘Local councils are failing to support a growing number of tenants who are most in need of a home and the proportion of landlords willing to let to tenants in receipt of benefits have halved over the last few years,’ said Richard Lambert, CEO at the National Landlords Association. ‘Their perception is that the risk is too great and it’s easy to see why if payment delays appear to be inherent within the benefits system,’ he continued.
Over half of tenants affected by delay in council benefit
Mr Lambert also said that the, ‘pressure on those private landlords who have remained in this part of the market will be seriously increased by the Government’s benefits freeze and the devastating changes to mortgage interest relief announced by the Chancellor in July’s Budget.’
‘Ultimately, the people who suffer will be those who have almost no option other than the private rented sector for a home and yet find that they are unable to rely on their local council for the support to which they are entitled,’ Lambert concluded.