Landlords concerned over housing benefit cap evictions

by Daniel Jones

Eviction orders to remove tenants who can no longer afford rent costs because of the cap on government contributions are attracting the ire of landlords.

Social landlords have already warned they face large drops in income as a result of the cap on the amount government will contribute to rental payments for disadvantaged tenants.

However, county courts have started imposing eviction orders to a number of landlords whose tenants are unable to meet the rising costs.

One landlord, speaking to The Guardian after receiving an order from the central London county court to evict a family from one of his properties, explained that financial concerns are forcing him to make a decision he is not happy with, ethically speaking.

"I try not to get emotionally involved. It is a business - but the houses of families, it is emotional … I wish we could help more, but we have limited resources," he told the newspaper. "I don't think that it will save any money and I am very worried about the social implications. What is going to happen to the kids? We have tenants in the office crying, regularly."

Legal eviction costs associated with cutting short tenancy agreements are also likely to be affecting landlords' finances, who some ministers expect will reduce rents as a result of the newly imposed cap.

Government has faced criticism about the plan as far back as 2010, when chancellor George Osborne first proposed the cap.

Commenting shortly after Mr Osborne's announcement, a spokesman for the Council of Mortgage Lenders suggested that the proposed cap betrayed a lack of understanding about the variations in housing costs and the ability of private landlords to meet financing costs, make improvements to properties and pay for related services for tenants.

When the changes were first proposed as part of the Emergency Budget and Spending Review, the coalition government forecast that housing benefit cuts would save a projected £2.25 billion per year by 2014/15.

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Published on: April 25, 2012

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