Please Note: This Article is 8 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

Landlords Fergus and Judith Wilson have served notice on 200 tenancies, families on benefits, to make room for East European migrants.

The couple who bought up to 1,000 properties in and around Kent in the last property boom have served section 21 notices on those tenants they have who depend on welfare benefits (Housing Benefit) to pay their rent.

Mr Wilson has been quoted as saying that he has found East Europeans to be good tenants who rarely default on their rent, whereas with tenants on benefits more than 50% do.

It is well known within the landlord community that successive governments have had a policy of paying rent by way of Housing Benefit (HB) payments to tenants rather than direct to their landlords.

The thinking behind this policy is that tenants on benefits must learn to be responsible in the way they handle their finances, open bank accounts and pay their landlords rent as would any other tenant. Unfortunately it seems this theory does not always follow in practice.

Private landlords came under this regime some years ago, but with the advent of Universal Credit, where all benefits are to be combined and paid out as one single payment, social housing providers will come under the same system.

Pilot schemes now running to test this system have had mixed reviews, with some local authorities and housing associations reporting dramatically increased rent arrears.

With cuts in benefit levels generally, and housing benefit in particular, tenants on HB are now having to make bigger contributions to the rent payment themselves.

This will affect in the main pensioners and families who make up the biggest number of those on housing benefit.

Mr Wilson gives his reasons for this withdrawal from housing HB tenants as a growing gap between the arrears of HB tenants and those that are working and he cites this as a trend being followed by other private landlords. He has said that not one of his working tenants is in rent arrears.

With tenants relying increasingly on the private rental sector (PRS) for accommodation, as the provision of social housing has declined over recent years, many housing support organisations such as Shelter have become increasingly concerned about the way landlords see it as a risk taking on tenants who are reliant on HB.

The result of all this could be migration of these tenants from high cost south-eastern towns such as Kent to northern towns were rents are much lower.

Please Note: This Article is 8 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.



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