Posts with tag: housing benefit tentants

Rents have gone North and Benefits South

Published On: January 8, 2014 at 4:29 pm


Categories: Property News


A husband and wife who own about 1,000 buy-to-let properties have reportedly told letting agents that they will not take any more tenants on housing benefit.

Fergus and Judith Wilson, whose housing empire is based in the Ashford area of Kent, have issued eviction notices to all of their tenants on welfare.

Fergus Wilson explains his decision: “Rents have gone north, and benefit levels south.

Rents have gone North and Benefits South

Rents have gone North and Benefits South

“The gap is such that I have taken the decision to withdraw from taking tenants on housing benefit. From what I can gather, just about all other landlords have done the same. Our situation is that not one of our working tenants is in arrears; all of those in arrears are on housing benefit.”

Landlords are having problems getting rent guarantee insurance for tenants on the benefit, and this is stated to be one factor behind the issue.

Wilson goes on to say: “Tenants on benefits are competing with Eastern Europeans who came to the UK in 2005 and have built up a good enough credit record to rent privately. We’ve found them to be a good category of tenant who don’t default on the rent. With tenants on benefits, the number of defaulters outnumbers the ones who pay on time.”1

Despite not all tenants on benefit being in arrears, there have been issues outlined as the reasons for problems with housing them:

  • People on housing benefit generally have less income than the majority of working tenants, and therefore paying rent is undoubtedly going to be more difficult.
  • Housing benefit received is often less than the market rent. This means that either landlords must accept lower rents, or the tenants have to make up the difference.
  • Rent paid by housing benefit is not paid directly to landlords, but by the benefit authorities. Benefit Offices can leave landlords waiting long periods before rent is received.

If a landlord is willing to let their property without rent guarantee insurance, there are a couple of options for them:

  • Landlords can require that tenants have their benefit paid to a Credit Union account, or use the Tasker Payment Service.
  • Landlords can also insist that a tenant has a personal guarantee from a family member who owns their own home and is in employment. If there is ever a need to take a County Court Judgement, there is a chance that money will be paid.

However, the Government believes that lower benefits will result in a reduction of in rent from landlords. This seems unlikely to happen, unless there is an oversupply of rented property on the market.


Landlords avoid benefit tenants

Published On: December 10, 2013 at 9:44 am


Categories: Landlord News


A Sky News report has suggested that landlords are staying away from benefit claimants, for fear that they will turn out to be non-payers.


The figures, obtained from the National Landlord’s Association, show that only 22% of people on benefits currently are being let to by landlords, compared to 46% only three years ago.[1]

More alarming figures suggest that 52% of landlords have said that they will not consider people on benefits when letting their property. This is attributed to the fact that around seven in ten landlords who have let to a tenant on benefits have experienced rent arrears.

Universal Credit Scheme

The report has come at a crucial time for the Government, with Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith about to be quizzed by MP’s on the upcoming Universal Credit Scheme. This scheme will see six benefits condensed into one monthly payment. It was hoped that the scheme would be implemented by 2017, but reports now show that up to 700,000 claimants could have to wait longer for the reform.

Dogged by difficulties

Sky News’ political correspondent Anushka Asthana was scathing in her assessment of the Government’s attempted welfare reforms. Asthana said, ‘The Government’s flagship welfare reform forces people to budget by paying their benefits in one monthly lump sum.

“It has been dogged by difficulties amid accusations of weak management and a timetable that keeps on slipping.

“Now fears are rising about the human consequences of this massive reform.[1]

Landlords avoid benefit tenants

Landlords avoid benefit tenants



Figures published alongside the Government’s Autumn Statement gave a further bleak outlook for the Universal Credit Scheme. Instead of the expected 1.7 million claimants in receipt of the benefits in 2014-15, it is now expected that there will be far fewer. Furthermore, instead of the targeted figure of 4.5 million 2015/16, it is thought that this number will now be just 400,000. [2]

This expected failure has brought a predictable attack from Labour. Their shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Rachel Reeves, said that, ‘David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith repeatedly promised to deliver their flagship policy, Universal Credit, ‘on time and within budget’. That claim, and the credibility they staked on it, now lie in tatters.’[2]

Reeves went on to say that, ‘these OBR figures tell the truth of how David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith have broken their promises on a spectacular scale.[2]

Duncan-Smith certainly faces a difficult few months as the Universal Credit Scheme controversy builds.