London landlords more likely to dismiss tenants

by Sarah Ashcroft

Landlords in London are more likely to evict tenants or not renew tenancy agreements than their counterparts across the country.

A study commissioned by the government found that changes to housing benefit will cause 40 per cent of landlords to stop renting properties to those tenants, compared to just 33 per cent who said the same nationally.

Around 26 per cent also said they would reduce the number of properties they rent to housing benefit tenants, compared to 24 per cent who said the same across the country.

Indeed, London landlords are three times more likely to not renew tenancy agreements, instead of looking at rent books and reducing asking price to keep the same people in the property.

From January 2012, there were caps on annual housing benefit payments of £20,800 for a four bedroom house. For most tenants the changes came into effect when they renewed their annual claim this year.

"The report's findings are worrying, especially since it only covers the initial impact of the housing benefit cap," said Lewisham Mayor, Sir Steve Bullock, executive member for housing at umbrella group London Councils.

"Landlords not reducing their rent will exacerbate the shortage of housing for those households who are working and on low incomes. We have already seen evictions in London and fear this will further escalate over the coming months."

The poll found that more tenants on housing benefits in London had tried to stay in their property on lower rents, with 33 per cent compared to 17 per cent, however those that did apply were generally less successful.

Landlords and tenants can agree to change the level of rent paid during a tenancy by using a Rent Increase Form.

However, in the current high-demand rental climate, many landlords may be keener to see rents increase than decrease.

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Published on: June 21, 2012

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