The implementation of the Universal Credit scheme, as fraught as it is with difficulty and delay, is proving to have a human cost, as more landlords are avoiding of the growing number of tenants on benefits for fear of non-payment of rent.
Figures from the National Landlords’ Association (NLA), as obtained by Sky News, have shown that the number of landlords who let to benefits recipients has more than halved in three years, from 46% in 2010 to just 22% today. This is despite the number of claimants rising by 420,000 in this period, to more than 5 million.
It was reported in August that nearly one million of these claimants was in work. Research also suggests that as many as nine out of every ten new claims are made for a household in which at least one adult is in work.
Anushka Asthana, Sky News’s political correspondent, said:
"The Government's flagship welfare reform forces people to budget by paying their benefits in one monthly lump sum.
"It has been dogged by difficulties amid accusations of weak management and a timetable that keeps on slipping.
"Now fears are rising about the human consequences of this massive reform."
Working people ‘being pushed over the edge’
This news comes alongside a new report from the National Housing Federation, which claims that mounting living costs in some areas are forcing 310 people per day to claim housing benefit. This amounts to one working person every five minutes. The report, Home Truths, claims that the number of working people claiming housing benefits has more than doubled since 2009.
Though the media paints an unpleasant picture of benefits claimants, it is clear that several are simply forced into an unpleasant situation due to rising living costs and low wages. The growing number of claimants means that more than ever before are in desperate need of landlords who will accept them.
To find out how to let your property to tenants on benefits, and how to make it a serviceable business venture, see our article Letting to tenants on benefits.