More than half of private sector tenants have been affected by delays in Housing Benefit payments, according to new research.
Research from the National Landlords Association (NLA) found that 52 per cent of tenants have experienced delays in payments from local authorities.
The damning research, which is thought to affect approximately 3.3 million tenants, also reveals how 36 per cent of those cases resulted in tenants struggling to pay their rent on time.
According to the housing charity Shelter, eight in ten households (80 per cent) will face a benefits shortfall as a result of the Government’s commitment to freeze Housing Benefit for four years.
Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of claimants have rent paid directly to their landlord. Only 27 per cent of Housing Benefit is sent to claimants themselves.
However, changes to the way Housing Benefit is paid under Universal Credit will see this figure rise substantially, leading to fears that some vulnerable groups may struggle to manage rent repayments.
Landlords can request that Housing Benefit payments be sent directly to them, where they suspect a tenant will struggle to cope with the changes.
The NLA defines ‘Housing Benefit’ as receiving Local Housing Allowance, Universal Credit or Housing benefit.
Figures from the NLA also show that:
- Around 45 per cent of all tenants in the private rented sector receive some form of benefit payment
- One in three (30 per cent) receive local housing allowance (LHA), Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.
- A quarter (26 per cent) receive Council Tax benefit
- One in ten (11 per cent) receive Disability Living Allowance
- Three per cent receive Job Seeker’s Allowance
Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the National Landlords Association (NLA) said: “Local councils are failing to support a growing number of tenants who are most in need of a home and the proportion of landlords willing to let to tenants in receipt of benefits has halved over the last few years.
“Their perception is that the risk is too great, and it’s easy to see why if payment delays appear to be inherent within the benefits system.
“The pressure on those private landlords who have remained in this part of the market will be seriously increased by the government’s benefits freeze and the devastating changes to mortgage interest relief announced by the Chancellor in July’s Budget.
“Ultimately, the people who suffer will be those who have almost no option other than the private rented sector for a home and yet find that they are unable to rely on their local council for the support to which they are entitled.”