Fewer landlords let homes to housing benefit tenants

AFS Team·29 January 2020·4 min read
Fewer landlords let homes to housing benefit tenants

Fewer landlords let homes to housing benefit tenants

One landlord’s association says there has been a big drop in the number of landlords who are willing to let their home to a tenant receiving Universal Credit or local housing allowance.

The National Landlords' Association (NLA) says growing numbers of landlords have been deterred from renting to this group of tenants since 2016 when the freeze on local housing allowance (LHA) rates was introduced by the former Chancellor George Osborne.

However, over the years rents have increased so the disparity between how much a tenant can pay towards their rent and how much they receive in housing benefit has grown.

Now the government has announced plans for bringing the LHA freeze to an end from April but the NLA says the proposed increase will not be large enough to help those tenants who cannot afford to pay rent.

From the start of the new tax year, the amount will rise by the rate of inflation, which is around 1.5% currently.

However, rents have risen by 5% on average in most areas and, in some places, rents have risen at a faster rate.

'LHA inflation-based increases are insufficient'

The NLA's policy manager, Meera Chindooroy, said: "We are pleased the government is ending the LHA rate freeze but inflation-based increases are insufficient in addressing the shortfall between market rents and LHA rate levels in most areas.

"The government's financial support is not enough for many tenants for covering their rent."

She added: "Our research shows that there is a decreasing proportion of landlords who are letting to a tenant who is receiving Universal Credit or local housing allowance."

The NLA says that it is crucial that the government realigns its LHA rates with market rents to help ensure that vulnerable tenants are able to access a secure property in the country's private rental sector.

Survey reveals how landlords are dealing with tax changes

Meanwhile, a survey from Accumulate Capital of property investors has found how they are dealing with tax changes.

They say that 37% of landlords are looking to sell at least one of their rental properties with 61% of landlords blaming the growing increasing taxes and regulations for doing so.

A spokesman for the firm said: "Many landlords are taken action to control costs by using limited company lending to help grow investment and taking advantage of low mortgage rates."

In recent years, the firm highlights, the average buy to let mortgage rate has been slashed with two-year fixed rates now available for less than 1.3%.