Government changes to remove housing benefit from 18 to 21-year-olds from April will make it far more difficult for them to access rented housing, according to landlords.
A survey of more than 1,000 landlords has found that 76% will be reluctant to rent accommodation to this age group because they fear that they may not have enough money to pay the rent.
The survey also showed the devastating effects of the Government’s planned benefit cap, with more than 65% of landlords being reluctant to let properties to tenants who are of working age and on benefits because the cap might affect their ability to meet rent costs.
Compiled by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), the data also showed that those aged under 35 may also face problems accessing rented accommodation. Since 2012 they have only been able to claim benefit for a room in a shared house and 53% of landlords do not intend to renew such tenancies because of fear about payments not being made.
According to Government statistics, in 2013-14 48% of all households aged 25 to 34 were in the private rented sector.
RLA vice-chairman Chris Town said: “The results confirm that reforms to housing benefit are making it increasingly risky for landlords to rent to those receiving it.
“Rented housing is crucial to enabling young people to quickly access work opportunities wherever they might be. By making it more difficult for them to secure rental properties Ministers are making work prospects increasingly difficult for them.
“A simple solution would be to give tenants the option of having payments of the housing element of Universal Credit paid directly to the landlord. This would give all tenants and landlords the security of knowing the rent has been paid.”