Landlords 'should inform tenants about welfare changes'

by Sarah Ashcroft

Landlords who are looking to establish a good working relationship with their tenants could do well to inform them about how changes to the welfare system could affect them from 2013.

Research carried out by the National Landlords Association (NLA) found that the majority of private renters who currently receive benefits are unaware (37 per cent) of the impact the amendments could have.

In addition, 48 per cent claimed they are unsure about the changes, which will see all entitlements combined into a single monthly payment.

Households will also see the amount of benefits they receive capped at £26,000 per year as a result of the Universal Credit amendments to government policy.

Shortly before the NLA research was published, the Department for Work and Pensions Select Committee unveiled its recommendations on the implementation of the benefit system after 86 per cent of tenants were found to be concerned about the impact of the government's plans.

As a result, the NLA has urged landlords to work together with their tenants and local authority to ensure any negative impact caused during the changeover can be avoided.

Currently, the level of Local Housing Allowance entitlement for tenants differs in accordance with the average rent in each area, while making provisions for direct payments of benefits in regard of rent to the property owner.

However, the new system will only permit direct payments to landlords in specific circumstances, for example after a pattern of arrears.

David Salusbury, chairman of the NLA, said the implementation of the amendments are "clearly causing concern" among both tenants and proprietors.

He added: "The introduction of the benefits cap could leave many tenants and especially families unable to meet rental costs in some places, meaning no option but migration to other areas of the country or - in the worst case - leaving them homeless."

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Published on: December 13, 2012

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