Benefit payment delays hit landlords

Delays in housing benefit payments from local authorities have affected more than half of landlords in the private rental sector, says the National Landlords’ Association (NLA).

The NLA has published the results of its research which shows that nearly 3.3 million tenants were affected by late benefit payments last year which meant around one third of them had issues paying their rent on time.

The NLA’s chief executive, Richard Lambert, said: “Local authorities are not supporting tenants in need of a home while the number of landlords who are willing to have tenants who receive benefits has fallen in recent years.

Landlords with tenants on benefits

 
“Landlords believe that the risk (of having tenants on benefits) is just too great and that’s easy to see when payment delays seem to be inherent within our benefit system.”

Mr Lambert added that private landlords are also facing the added pressure with the upcoming government freeze on benefits and the ‘devastating changes’ that are being made to mortgage interest relief.

The NLA’s research reveals that 27% of landlords with tenants on benefits are paid directly from a council while the remainder are paid by their tenants after they receive their money from the local authority.

Landlord Association steps up fight against tax changes

 
Meanwhile, the Scottish Association of Landlords and the Residential Landlords’ Association have joined forces in a bid to fight the Government’s plans to change the rules on mortgage interest relief being claimed by landlords.

The associations – which represent more than 30,000 landlords in England, Scotland and Wales – say that the change will see rents rise and could leave many tenants in private rental properties being made homeless.

They have now gathered more than 20,000 signatures which will be handed to the government to show the sector’s strength of feeling.

Mortgage interest relief for landlords

 
Both associations say that the government’s claim that the mortgage interest relief for landlords will only affect less than a fifth of landlords is too low.

The RLA’s chairman, Alan Ward, said: “The government peddles the line that residential property letting is a passive investment while adding new responsibilities and regulations such as minimum energy efficiency standards, immigration checks and licensing.

Residential property letting is a trading business

 
“This is false and residential property letting should be recognised as a trading business and it should be allowed to offset legitimate business costs which includes mortgage interest.”

Both associations are now urging non-members and members alike to contact their MP to express their opinion.

In addition, they have also created a website which provides an illustration of how the proposed mortgage relief changes will affect landlords with the option of signing their e-petition to oppose the changes.

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