Landlords are apparently increasingly willing to rent their properties to Universal Credit claimants but say the government needs to address their concerns.
Research carried out by the Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA) reveals that 36% of landlords in the private rental sector said that after changes announced in the recent Budget they have the confidence to now rent their property to a tenant on Universal Credit.
However, 73% of landlords in the survey said they lacked confidence they will recover any arrears that may occur should tenants move to Universal Credit.
Now RLA is now calling for help ensure that landlords will be able to reclaim rent arrears that have been built-up by tenants on Universal Credit and who leave the property.
Currently, there’s no way for a landlord for doing this.
Private landlords to be treated the same as social landlords
The RLA says it wants private landlords to be treated the same as social sector landlords by guaranteeing they have access to basic information which includes whether a tenant is a Universal Credit recipient and when they get their payments.
They say this information will help a tenant organise rent payments.
The organisation's vice-chairman, Chris Town said: “Ministers have listened to our concerns and we welcome Universal Credit reforms which give landlords confidence.
“Having said that there are still issues with rent arrears and the recent tax increases have left landlords unable to cope with the difficulties in rent collecting. So, without any further reform we can’t say 'job done' for Universal Credit.”
New tenancy laws in Scotland spark ‘trepidation’ for landlords
Meanwhile, new tenancy laws for Scotland have been welcomed as a ‘New Dawn’ for those in the private rental sector but landlords say the changes come with some trepidation.
From 1 December, tenants now have more powers over the landlord which include enjoying longer notice periods, limited rent rises and indefinite security of tenure.
Those living in Scotland’s private rental sector homes account for 15% of all homes the country and the new laws are a step away from the principles laid down in assured short hold tenancy agreements which give landlords in England and Wales, and Scotland, the flexibility to fix their rents at market levels and the ability to repossess their property when necessary.
The head of lettings at agents Gilbraith, Bob Cherry, said there are elements within the new legislation that landlords will need to be careful about, particularly that it's no longer possible to terminate a private residential tenancy without notice and without cause.
He added that there are aspects that make the landlord-tenant relationship more secure but critics say many landlords are looking at the legislation with 'trepidation' and say that a similar law could be enacted in England and Wales.