Landlords should welcome social housing benefits
5:28pm Wednesday 30th January 2013
LANDLORDS are being urged not to turn their backs on social housing tenants.
According to research from the National Housing Federation, the number of social housing tenants has risen by 417,830 over the past three years.
Unfortunately, there has also been a decline in the number of landlords willing to let properties to tenants receiving housing benefit following the Government’s cuts to LHA funding.
This issue of landlords turning their backs on social housing tenants was raised by the National Landlord Association with a report that many landlords plan to withdraw from the LHA market within three years – many fear they will be no longer able to afford to let their properties at the reduced benefit rates.
Aki Ellahi, founder of DSSmove and director of Rent Me Now, has highlighted the ‘appalling’ stigma and stereotyping prevalent among UK landlords with regards to social housing tenants.
More than 70 per cent of tenants who are aged over 55 receive some form of entitlements, including housing benefit. These people have paid into the system over their working lives and now need some support in their retirement, as do a number of homeowners who may be entitled to social and housing support.
Peter Girling, chairman of Girlings Retirement Rentals, said: “There are benefits to landlords from letting property to social housing tenants. While there are of course some unscrupulous people who abuse the system, it is wrong to stereotype all social tenants like this. It is the minority giving the majority of tenants a bad name.
“There are commercial benefits too – just look at the success of businesses like Mr Ellahi’s.
“I would like to urge landlords to think twice before turning their backs on social housing tenants in response to government policies. If a new government came in, policies would change again.
“There is an argument for landlords to take a far longer term view of the market which could bring great commercial success in the future.
“There are also the tenants to consider. They are affected by government cuts, yet most of them don’t have the means to go out and earn additional income to supplement their rents. Without government assistance and landlords willing to take them on, what would become of them?”