There has been a fall in the number of landlords willing to let to tenants who are claiming housing benefit or universal credit, shows new research.
Figures from the National Landlords Association (NLA) reveal just two in ten landlords will let properties to those in receipt of benefits – down from 34 per cent in 2013 to 20 per cent.
The NLA’s study also showed two in three landlords who did let to housing benefit recipients say tenants have fallen behind in rent payments over the past year.
Landlords represented by the NLA have already expressed concern about having to deal with the Universal Credit administration system, as well as the time it takes to secure direct payment of the housing part of the Universal Credit.
Richard Lambert, chief executive officer of the NLA, said: “Underlying all the problems with Universal Credit is the freeze on housing benefit rates, which means that the housing element of Universal Credit is simply insufficient for many tenants to be able to cover their rent.
“The decline in social housing means that some of the most vulnerable in society can only turn to the private rented sector. We have long called for the freeze to be scrapped as it creates a barrier that prevents claimants from securing the housing they need.
“If the government is serious about helping then it needs to press pause on the roll out of Universal Credit, and fix its underlying problems. Otherwise more and more people will find themselves homeless as the proportion of landlords who consider themselves able to house those who need it most will keep on falling.”