London landlords 'refusing to rent to housing benefit tenants'

by Sarah Ashcroft

Prospective tenants who are on housing benefit are finding it is much harder to secure a property from a landlord in London.

New findings declared in the London Assembly Housing Committee's latest report show that a third of housing benefit claimants across the city are affected by the reluctance of landlords to rent to them.

The Assessing the Consequences of Welfare Reform report found that the majority of landlords in London are cautious about letting to claimants and concerned by the benefit cap and other reforms that have been announced.

As a result, there has been a rise in the number of assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) terminated by property owners prematurely. Indeed, the increase in these occurrences has been four-fold since 2010.

Darren Johnson, chair of the committee, said that housing benefit is crucial as it acts not only as a safety net, but also a way for pensioners, the disabled and people on low incomes to afford to live in London.

"While there has been no large-scale and sudden movement of households from London, we have heard evidence of a range of problems including more evictions and rising homelessness and councils are having more difficulty finding affordable accommodation for their residents," he explained.

Mr Johnson went on to urge the city's mayor Boris Johnson and the government to do more to consider how changes to housing benefit have an impact on people across the city.

Everyone who is deemed to be vulnerable should be able to get the support they need to continue living in London.

The government should regularly assess the cost of living in the area and adjust housing benefit in accordance with this.

Mr Johnson noted that a combination of high house prices and downward pressure on wages had left many people in the capital struggling to afford their rent.ADNFCR-1645-ID-801711748-ADNFCR

Published on: April 10, 2014

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