Private sector landlords are facing discrimination as the government rolls out Universal Credit, according to the Residential Landlords Association.
The Department for Work and Pensions has established a helpline for landlords with tenants on Universal Credit facing difficulties with their housing costs - but it will only be available for the social rented sector and excludes use by private sector landlords.
This follows social housing landlords being able to access information on the claims and arrears history of tenants receiving Universal Credit which is denied to private sector landlords.
According to the most recent English Housing Survey some 26 per cent of tenants in private rented housing are in receipt of housing benefits, a figure likely to grow as the sector increases in size.
“Growing numbers of tenants on housing benefit are looking to the private rented sector for a home to live in. It is vital therefore that landlords are given all the support needed to encourage them to accept such tenants” says Alan Ward, RLA chairman.
“The news that the government’s Universal Credit helpline cannot be used by private sector landlords will do little to provide such confidence and cause many to consider if renting to benefit claimants is worth the risk.
“We are calling on the government to recognise the damage they may be doing to the choices available to tenants on benefit and end the discrimination against the private rented sector” he insists.