Majority of PRS landlords would not let to someone on Universal Credit

by Gary Whittaker

The private rented sector welcomes people from a wider spectrum of backgrounds than ever before at the moment, but the majority of landlords are still unwilling to rent to certain demographics, according to the results of a new survey. 

Data published by the National Landlords Association (NLA) shows that as many as 80 per cent of landlords said they would not want to let their properties to someone who is receiving housing benefits or Universal Credit, thanks to worries about getting paid on time. 

In the survey, in which 700 landlords were questioned, it was discovered that this is an issue which is becoming ever more prevalent. In 2013, 34 per cent of landlords said they would happily let properties to this demographic, but this has fallen to 20 per cent in 2017. 

One reason for this is the fact that the number of tenants looking for property in the rental market is higher than ever, so landlords no longer feel like they need to be letting to those people who they would identify as being 'high risk' in terms of not paying their rent. 

In response to the survey, the government has defended Universal Credit, claiming that the same problems were identified before a change to housing benefits in 2007, but that in that particular case, the number of private landlords letting to people on benefits actually rose from 23 per cent to 27 per cent. 

However, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams said: “This is further evidence of the failings of this Government’s Universal Credit programme. We know that the programme is driving debt, rent arrears and even evictions, causing landlords to shy away from tenants using social security.

“We must pause and fix the Universal Credit programme before it causes harm to millions of families.”

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20-October-17General Lettings News