A rental agency boss has encouraged private landlords to embrace tenants on benefits and believes it can result in long and secure tenancies.

Mish Liyanage, CEO of Pick My Pad (picturewd), says many tenants on benefits want affordable accommodation in the private sector and don’t want the hassle of dealing with housing benefit.

“They want the convenience of it being sorted for them,” he says. “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.” 

Liyanage does warn that landlords need to educate themselves about DSS tenants’ requirements including the system and payment cycle.

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“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.”

Over-run

But Universal Credit expert Bill Irvine warns that it’s a bit of a lottery renting to UC tenants with many really experienced landlords losing a lot of money at the moment. “Due to Covid, the DWP are over-run and can’t escalate problems,” Irvine tells LandlordZONE.

“It can take six months to go down the complaints route. Plus, councils are losing staff or making people redundant which is having an impact on housing benefit.” He adds: “If you’re filling in all the forms for tenants you’ll be charging for that and it’s very time consuming.”

Backlash

David Alexander, MD at agent DJ Alexander, has also cast doubt on suggestions that landlords could let out their property to a benefit claimant and, if they start to fall behind on the rent, the local council will step in to plug any shortfall.

He believes such a scheme might lead to a backlash from taxpayers, who are effectively funding it. “It is highly likely that income from benefit claimants being literally guaranteed by the government would lead to a surge in buy-up of property for rental purposes, thus threatening the balance between this and the amount of stock available for owner-occupation,” says Alexander.

6 COMMENTS

  1. It’s not just getting the rent, in full and on time, that is the risk when letting to an unemployed person or family, it’s the difficulty in getting repayment for any damage and rubbish removal. With only 5 weeks rent being the maximum amount allowed for a deposit, the deposit has never been enough, in my experience, to cover the damage etc caused by unemployed tenants.

    • Plus the fact that insurers want to charge higher premiums (probably for the same reason). Some are not even prepared to offer cover for DSS tenants.

  2. The vast majority of long term UC claimants are feckless professional layabouts who screw the system. I do not want to reward such behaviour by offering my quality accommodation to such types.

    I believe in rewarding the good and punishing the bad, plain and simple therefore I will offer my properties to hardworking aspirational clients.

    The govt and leftie luvvies seem not to worry about long term lazy types therefore they should accommodate them.

  3. I bet if I bought the house next door to this guy and moved in a bunch of third generation DSS/ UC scouse hillbillies my guess he’s have something different to say. I own PRS properties in nice neighbourhoods and charge premium rents. Is it fair on hardworking people that they end up with a feral family living next door?

  4. That is very unfair Dave. There are plenty of decent families that happen to only have income from DWP for various reasons. Yes, there are some that are irresponsible and dirty and no one would want them as tenants, but not all are like that.
    The problem I have with renting to DWP tenants is (I have heard) ,if their benefits get stopped, so does the housing benefit and then they get into arrears immediately. If the DWP/Council would deal directly with the Landlord and pay them directly and guarantee payments during the life time of the tenancy there would be a lot more availability of private properties for social tenants, in my opinion.

    • Most Councils require a valid AST before they will assess if someone would qualify for the HB required etc.

      .What SANE LL would ever give a valid AST without knowing whether the tenant would receive a guaranteed relevant benefit award!!!??

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