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Landlord group repeats call for upfront cash payments

The National Residential Landlords Association has repeated its backing for upfront cash payments and rent guarantees.

A new study has found that such payments and guarantees are the most effective way of opening up the private rental sector to tenants in receipt of Universal Credit. 

NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle says: “The private rented sector can play a valuable role in providing longer term accommodation for those at risk of homelessness or struggling to maintain a tenancy. 


“It is vital that policymakers heed the findings of this research to engage with landlords effectively and ensure they are confident that any risks they perceive will be addressed.”

Beadle continues: “The central element for landlords is continued rent payments. Government holds the key to this, through continuing to link local housing allowance to market rents, improving the administration of Universal Credit and better utilising guaranteed rent schemes at a local level. 

“Without taking these vital steps, the government will not tackle the homelessness crisis.”

The study - by the Centre for Homelessness impact and the Behavioural Insights Team as well as the NRLA - shows rent guarantees and upfront payments had the greatest positive impact on landlords.

Recent government figures show a doubling of UC recipients from 3m people in March 2020 to 6m today which has made finding solutions that work for tenants and private landlords more urgent.

The centrepiece of the study was an online trial involving more than 2,700 landlords across England and Wales. 

Each participant was asked about different scenarios to understand how they would react and respond, across two broad areas.

One area related to whether disclosing additional information about a tenant has any impact on increasing landlord willingness to continue with the application of someone receiving UC. 

To this end, landlords were sent information on:

- Pre-tenancy training: A certificate of completion and schedule for a tenancy skills programme

- Budget planner: A table of the tenant's income & expenditure

- Alternative payment arrangement leaflet: Information about APA, which is the process in England whereby housing benefit is transferred directly to the landlord (as opposed to being paid as part of the lump sum UC payment to the tenant).

The second area related to which Local Authority incentives or support programmes are most effective at increasing landlord willingness to rent to someone receiving UC, considering:

- £1,000 cash upfront: a cash payment upon signing a tenancy agreement;

- rent guarantee: a written guarantee from the Local Authority that they will cover late or unpaid rent;

- deposit bond: a cash amount equivalent to one month's rent set aside to cover any costs a landlord may incur during the course of the tenancy;

- support from a landlord liaison officer: a dedicated resource that acts as a single point of contact for private landlords who need support with a tenancy.

Landlords who received information about budget planners, pre-tenancy training or APA reported very similar willingness to rent to potential tenants as those who received no additional information. “This suggests that these are less effective at changing landlords’ attitudes than previously expected” say the report authors.

Rent guarantees and upfront payments were more persuasive but even then the authors admit enthusiasm amongst landlords was muted.

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  • George Dawes


    I'm going for 3-6 months up front or I'm not renting again

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    I can't believe anyone thought pre-tenancy training or a leaflet would make a LL more willing to accept a tenant! What we want is a guarantee that the rent will be paid - is that too much to ask?

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    Do not do a deal involving your Council. The tenant using a council bond has no motivation to look after the property. The council with their socialist left employees will argue regardless on any amount deducted. The DPS employs similar. Hiding to nothing.

    Ben Beadle - you claim to represent us. The majority PRS does not want these style of tenants. Do you not get it? Wonder how many BTL’s Ben owns

    • E T
    • 21 April 2021 10:40 AM

    The council will argue on amount deducted - if you are lucky! Our council just flatly refused to help at all, told the tenants to stay put, denied receiving the signed bond or that there was a bond in place at all, denied the state of the property when the tenant 'did a runner' owing thousands and refused to pay rent to us directly allowing him to incur thousands of debt... and this was all way before the pandemic. Nope, I won't trust our council again.

  • Matthew Payne

    And a written guarantee that the council (if required) will pay for the property to be returned to its original condition on check in, and cover the rent for any void period suffered whilst the work is being carried out.


    Sorry Matthew but if you believe that then you will believe anything, never trust a council even if it is in writing.

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    I've had working tenants that have lost their jobs and had to go onto benefits, then found new employment, that's fine, that's what the benefits system is for, but lets face it the vast majority on benefits have no intention of finding employment, many are proud of the fact that they live for free off the tax payer, why would any of us want anything to do with them ?


    utter rubbish


    David - what is your experience of benefit tenants? Clearly as a tenant you have not housed them - people here are talking from experience. I agree with Andrew that benefits are supposed to be a safety net, not a way of life.

  • Trevor Cooper

    The only people who do not consider having a roof over their heads as an essential human right are tenants who spend their benefits on other things than rent. Make part of their benefits 'rent tokens' and landlords would have more confidence in them as tenants.

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    Just pay the 'Housing' bit of the benefit directly to the landlord like they used to

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    I think we need to go back to how it used to be.
    3yr all repair lease. Council pay amount as per commercial contract enforced by UK law. House has to be returned to Independant assessor standard. Problem solved overnight. Certain LL’s will consider this

    The councils are desperately wanting to avoid this solution and you know why


    As Andrew says above, avoid Council schemes and the types of tenants they want to palm off on us. Plenty of decent tenants to choose from without entertaining the dross the Council are supporting.

  • Philip Savva

    As stated in the post, firstly, a deposit should be paid to the ll & first months rent in advance & all further rent payments paid direct to ll from tne offset, never mind this idea of paying it direct to tenants! If as I say was stated, I would house 100’s of benefit tenants without a doubt, but way the system is now, it does not support & help ll’s wotsoever. So the government can go forth & multiple themselves & deal with the ever increasing homelessness problem, which could easily be resolved as stated!

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    Mathew, you’ll need a written guarantee that you’ll ever again get your property back vacant not alone in general good condition. What about rights of Access to comply with all the conditions they have imposed on us. Tenants don’t want us in but obstruct us backed up by Council, keep LL out don’t let him know what’s going on then penalise him for poor Management.


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