The head of an agency is urging landlords to “embrace” tenants on housing benefits, instead of seeking to avoid them.
Mish Liyanage, chief executive of Pick My Pad, says: “Many tenants on benefits are seeking affordable accommodation in the private sector and landlords should be embracing them. However, it is vital that landlords educate themselves with the requirements for DSS tenants.
“With this knowledge, they can run a very successful tenancy. But without the right know how, landlords could in the worst-case scenario, lose money.
“It is important to understand the housing benefit system and payment cycle. Local Housing Allowance councils pay tenants two weekly, four weekly or calendar monthly so there is little point in a tenancy agreement that demands a payment on different dates. For example, Bolton council’s 1 bed rate is £90.90 and Salford council’s 1 bed rate is £138.08.
“We have currently over 400 tenants on benefits and achieve a rent collection record of over 90 per cent.
“Many tenants do not want the hassle of dealing with housing benefit and they want the convenience of it being sorted for them. Although many understand that they need to apply for housing benefit, they prefer if the landlord or an agent can assist them with doing this on their behalf.
“The temptation to spend housing benefit can be far too great for tenants and often they fall into a debt trap by using housing benefit payments for living costs on a short-term basis. So if landlords can help tenants to avoid this temptation and providing the rent is affordable, there is the potential of a long and secure tenancy to be enjoyed by both parties."
In March 2020, the Local Housing Allowance was increased to cover the bottom 30 per cent of rents, but has been frozen again in cash terms; charities and campaigning rental bodies want the government to rethink this freeze.
Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.