Landlords must rent to tenants on benefits – despite the challenges



Landlords will not be permitted to refuse to rent to all tenants on benefits under the terms of the governments’ ‘A fairer private rented sector’ White Paper.

This development raises the question of and whether how the wider system will be reformed so landlords can let to those in receipt of Universal Credit with peace of mind.

As explored by Property Investor Post last year, landlords are reluctant to rent to tenants on benefits because it’s difficult to arrange for Universal Credit to be paid directly to them, while it’s difficult to get in contact with the Department of Work and Pensions if there’s issue.

The paper states “We will make it illegal for landlords or agents to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits”.

However the paper specified that landlords will be able to make “informed decisions based on individual circumstances” when deciding who to rent to.

It adds: “We will work with the insurance industry to address landlord and agent misconceptions that it is difficult to arrange insurance for properties where tenants are in receipt of benefits.

“We will also explore improvements to welfare support information for both tenants and landlords and help ensure that those who are unable to manage their rent payments can arrange direct payments of housing costs to their landlord through their Universal Credit (Managed Payments).”

Eddie Hooker, chief executive of the Hamilton Fraser Group, which operates industry schemes such as Total Landlord Insurance, the Property Redress Scheme and Client Money Protect, admitted he was worried the benefits change could drive landlords out of the sector.

He said: “Giving more power to the tenant, for example by restricting the rights of landlords to determine when a tenant should actually have to vacate at the end of a tenancy and to force landlords to accept renters that are on benefits, no matter how temporary, could send a signal that investing in the private rental sector is an uncertain and undesirable endeavour.

“It’s vital that the eventual legislation doesn’t deter landlords from the sector as this will cause more landlords to exit, exacerbating an existing shortage of rental homes and driving up rents at a time when interest rates are rising faster than they have done in decades, and when people can least afford it.”

Another much publicised announcement in the White Paper is landlords will not be able to issue a blanket ban on having pets in properties.

However landlords can request insurance to cover the cost of any potential damage caused by pets.

This move has received some positive press, as Richard O’Neill, managing director of lettings at property service firm Leaders Roman Group, said: “This week The Government announced that tenants should have the right to bring their furry friends into their homes under the Renters Reform Bill.

“Although this is something that has been previously opposed by landlords, they stand to reap the benefits of welcoming pets by broadening demand for their property. Over 3 million households welcomed cats and dogs into their homes during the pandemic and, with that, interest in pet-friendly rentals soared by 120% between 2020 and 2021.

“Pets are for life, not just for Christmas, as the saying goes… so landlords should prepare for and embrace this legislation for the long-term. Landlords are still protected within the Act as tenants will have a legal duty to repair and cover the cost of any damages incurred by their pets.

“Indeed, tenants are encouraged to purchase insurance that covers any pet-related damage. Ultimately, landlords can now let their homes knowing that they are meeting growing consumer demand whilst also having peace of mind that their property is protected.”

Not that everyone’s a fan of this change.

Bethany Jameson*, 58, owns two buy-to-lets in London, but now plans to sell them due to this announcement.

She told The Telegraph: “I’m appalled at the Government’s constant interference in the private rented sector. Landlords own the properties, not the Government. We have paid for these properties and they are our pension. It is a big assault on our property rights.

“I have many allergies and my husband is allergic to dogs, in no circumstance can we allow tenants with pets. We wouldn’t be able to enter the house to do any checks.”

It remains to be seen whether there’ll be any exceptions to the policy for landlords like Jameson.

Comments 7

  1. It is so strange our law breaking criminal politicians continue to tell everyone who they should let to, this is because they are so damned incompetent they asset stripped social housing; failed to provide new social housing in quantities required. They then have the damned cheek to say who we, private investors, should or should not let our hard earnt investments to. No doubt these public school bully boys (I guess that is what they were brought up to consider the norm) yet they do not comply with their own rules. It is more and more clear these fools do not have an idea; they are driving out perfectly decent landlords from providing good accommodation to decent tenant. They want us to take on all the problem tenants they do not provide for under a social security system they are required to provide for. THESE FOOLS have, with their ongoing landlord bashing policies, wrecked the confidence in the private rented sector and WILL feel the pain as more become homeless. I bet Boris the baffoon has not spent his time on hands and knees cleaning floor boards with bleach to try to remove the smell of dog urine; his capability is just “taking the urine!” Any landlord who votes conservative, labour, liberal or green should ask themselves what the hell they are doing. Back to the future and the devastating 1977 Rent Act type laws sure to kill off landlord investmnents. Like small minded politicians they don’t try to fix the problems they generate more bully boy tactics and vote buying; which in the long term will not work. Those most adversely affected are the ones they claim to help!!

  2. When are these MP’s gonna’ wake up.
    I am biggest Benefit Landlord in Nottingham & I am no longer taking Benefit tenants. Wake up MP’s & Shelter. Take me to court. Let’s get it out in the open.
    Letting Agents aren’t either. They just refusing ’em on affordability. Not the tenants fault, it’s the system which I can change it 21 seconds. 21 seconds to save £ billions.

    Ryan the reporter says it perfectly:
    As explored by Property Investor Post last year, landlords are reluctant to rent to tenants on benefits because it’s difficult to arrange for Universal Credit to be paid directly to them, while it’s difficult to get in contact with the Department of Work and Pensions if there’s issue.

    When I’ve sold houses I can’t even tell DWP UC to stop paying me for my old tenant, as they have put in a letter there is no way for me to tell them.

    As Will says:
    with their ongoing landlord bashing policies, wrecked the confidence in the private rented sector and WILL feel the pain as more become homeless.

    More homeless coming & more extortionate rents.
    One day they will come to us & say Right we getting it wrong aren’t we. What can we do for you Landlords that u will stop selling & house the people that we can’t & at an affordable rent that we currently aren’t paying for with the Benefit system.

  3. I have seen first hand the damage by pets in rental properties. It is all very well to say the tenant will have to pay for any damage by pets but we all know that tenants in some cases don’t pay for the damage they themselves leave us with. It is all very well to say that tenants will have to take out pet insurance to cover this but how do we guarantee they will. If a tenant refuses to pay for pet insurance will this become a ground for eviction?

  4. I have read all above comments
    Agree with them all

    SOLUTION FOR MOMENT AT LEAST-
    6 month lease only
    6 months rent up front
    £100 pcm for each pet
    All tenants over 18 on the lease
    All tenants need guarantors who must have with nett income of min 40x the monthly rent
    JOB DONE
    if people on benefits qualify with the above they need reporting to the Police as clearly they are defrauding the HMRC and DWP
    Sort that one Boris!

  5. Quite right Terry. While deposits are capped, it is still perfectly legal to ask for as much rent as you want up front. I expect there will be a block on this at some point as it discriminates against poorer people. With AST being banned as well you won’t be able to time limit any tenancy and with no Section 21 you will be stuck with tenants unless they do something you can get them for under Section 8 or you sell up or move family in. I expect there will be few strings attached to make sure you actually sell up or the person you move in is actually a relative (and if Generation Rent get their way you will also have to pay the tenant compensation as well).
    The Government seem to forget that a rental house is the landlord’s property and as such who lives in it is for the landlord to decide. If you don’t like someone’s face you currently don’t have to rent to them. Who knows the Council may get powers to allocate a tenant to you.
    What will happen if you turn a benefit tenant down? I expect that they could complain to the “powerful” new ombudsman and unless you can make a really good case you will get fined. That you found a tenant that passed financial checks might not be a defence. Now tenants will be essentially bullet proof you can expect that complaints about the mould and damp caused by them, that is, of course aggravating their allergies to rocket. I expect telling them to open some windows or not dry washing indoors won’t wash with the ombudsman and you will have to give them their rent back!
    The devil will be in the detail and it will take years to sort out. Meanwhile I expect they will just ban Section 21 and you will only be able to evict on provable Section 8 grounds in court. The promised housing court is already not going to happen and I doubt if the existing Court procedures will ever be streamlined as making them easier and faster is surely a move to help landlords, so by definition will never happen.
    Council’s had better get busy replacing all the social housing they sold off and more, they are going to need it and quick!

  6. I’ve just had this this week, good tenant, partner plus joint tenant left her, UC don’t know the rules & won’t speak to me. Getting no rent in, she gonna’ be homeless. If I could to someone high up at UC, could be solved in 1 minute.

    I still request my complaint to be started. Even if u have solved this for me. It shouldn’t have took this long & put me under this much stress.
    We have to stop this culture of UC staff always assuming claimant/tenant is wrong. Have u ever considered if tenant is right?
    We have to stop this culture of u not wanting Landlord to help tenant with claim on journal. U haven’t answered this, why u don’t want Landlord helping us?
    We have to stop u not following DWP regulations on consent where I’ve asked u to contact Landlord to solve this in 1 minute because UC staff have poor & lack of training. UC staff know little of tenancies & rents. My Landlord has been doing this 25 years, biggest Benefit Landlord in Nottingham, he is trying to help me & he shouldn’t know more than u about how UC Housing Element & tenancies work.

    I request my complaint be started to avoid u putting me through this torture again in 6 months 1 year, my friends being put through this torture. U have no idea how we UC tenants can’t get houses cause of your actions this past few weeks. When Mick had access to your managers Sarah & Mel, till they left, we had none of this. Things were solved instantly.

    Firstly have u started my complaint as I am in dire straights here with your computer over-ruling me & u.

    Have u seen the message at 314pm after your message at 313pm.
    When u automatically send a message saying
    Your housing costs cannot be paid because you have not provided sufficient evidence of where you live and how much you pay in rent. If you can provide this evidence, declare a ‘Change of circumstances’ again.

    How are we supposed to know what we have done wrong or what the system has interpreted wrong?

    Is my Landlord being paid Friday, otherwise your actions have placed me in arrears & Landlord cannot lie when I apply for another house. UC & Bulwell Job Centre actions this week could have potentially wrecked my chances of ever securing accommodation again. As DWP regs allow when partner & joint tenant leaves, existing tenant notes again:
    Because of this, and our “joint & several” liability to meet 12 Peveril Street’s Housing’s monthly rental charge, I have had to assume liability for the full amount of rent, otherwise, I’d have accrued rent arrears, putting my tenancy in jeopardy.
    It’s my understanding, from email exchanges I’ve had with Bill Irvine, UC Advice & Advocacy Ltd, that in this situation, DWP staff have been advised they should pay me the “housing costs element” previously paid to us as a couple, to avoid the situation mentioned above, permitting me to continue residing in the property with my two children.

    I request u to & give explicit consent for you to contact my Landlord to deal with this horrendous ongoing rent query until my Landlord starts to receive the rent in his bank.
    I’ve asked u this several times on the phone & also on my journal. DWP Guidance is here. Why does Nottingham & Bulwell UC not abide by this?

    Where consent is needed it can be quickly given in different ways. For example, claimants only need to put a note in their journal to give consent, this is a far simpler and more straightforward process than in legacy systems. Once consent is given, advisers will work with the claimant’s representatives.

    I give full consent for my personal information to be shared with the representative
    All information to be disclosed
    Information is needed to get my Housing Element paid as your failure to do this is going to render me homeless.
    Representative is Mick Roberts

    If you are not going to comply with this request, then please include this in my complaint & reply in writing you are not going to ring my Landlord to stop me being homeless.

    One would hope, you would be doing your upmost to stop someone being homeless if DWP regulations allow. Yet u seem more interested & obsessed with not letting Landlord help a tenant who is encountering difficulties with UC when UC don’t follow guidance from lack of & poor training.

    Your actions are stopping Landlords taking UC tenants. And increasing rents.

    I would like to start a complaint please.

    Further to your recent phone call.

    My advisor has asked me to ask u & UC to ask this question please:
    My reading of all this scenario which is so easy to solve, would seem to suggest that the DWP have an objection against landlords & advisors giving assistance to their tenants. Why?

    There should be nothing to stop a landlord assisting their tenant, to prompt questions or answer “To-dos” on their journal, especially if they have difficulty communicating or don’t know how to challenge a perceived poor decision, by asking for a Mandatory Reconsideration or lodge an appeal.

    You have asked me now 3 times to upload rent proof. What is going wrong with the previous ones I have uploaded?
    I have just uploaded again.

    I have also asked u to ring my Landlord several times-We can solve this in 1 minute. This is costing taxpayer unnecessary money.

    I’ve already put these notes before & have been asked to tell it you like this.

    My partner plus joint tenant left on the 25th May 2022.
    You have said you need a tenancy in my name to get the Housing Costs paid.
    My Landlord is not willing to issue a new tenancy in just my name. This is called an Untidy tenancy & there is no need for this.
    Please treat me as liable for the full Housing costs.

    Paragraph 2.7 of DWP’s own circular explains how when partners separate permanently, the remaining partner should be paid 100% of the rent. There is NO need for a new tenancy to be issued to secure this payment.

    If u can’t solve this quickly from this message, I’d like to submit a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) through my online journal.

    Dear Work Coach/Account Manager

    I write to request a revision of my UC award as I believe you have wrongly underpaid my “housing costs element”. As I told you in my “journal entry” my partner, who was a joint tenant with me, left the property on 25th May 2022, is now living elsewhere and has no intention of returning to our home.
    Because of this, and our “joint & several” liability to meet xxx Street’s Housing’s monthly rental charge, I have had to assume liability for the full amount of rent, otherwise, I’d have accrued rent arrears, putting my tenancy in jeopardy.
    It’s my understanding, from email exchanges I’ve had with Bill Irvine, UC Advice & Advocacy Ltd, that in this situation, DWP staff have been advised they should pay me the “housing costs element” previously paid to us as a couple, to avoid the situation mentioned above, permitting me to continue residing in the property with my two children.
    Mr Irvine’s members’ bulletin includes a link to DWP’s own circular to this effect. Paragraph 2.7 of DWP’s circular specifically deals with the set of circumstances I’ve alluded too.
    This is DWP’s own link:

    I previously asked you to make this revision to my claim. Please now revise your earlier decision in my favour or, if not, issue a written decision, in relation to my request, so that I might pursue this matter, as an appeal. with the Tribunal Service.

    DWP is consistently denying the correct amount of “housing costs element”, to joint tenants who’ve experienced similar separation from partners, despite the fact, DWP issued guidance to its own staff, that should, in effect, have put a stop to this type of malpractice.

    My Landlord has also sorted this out with Mandie Brown in Stage 2 complaints in 2018.
    And also your Nottingham Partnership manager Veronica in 2021.

  7. DWP ARE NOT FIT FIR PURPOSE
    this is a dreadful situation and cannot be allowed to continue

    The only Minister who seems awake these days is Michael Gove

    Mick
    It’s a pain I know but could you find time to put all this correspondence together and post it to Mr Gove and ask him to intervene personally?
    Just send addressed to him at No 10 Downing Street, it will reach him

    Frankly this makes me ashamed to be British
    What has gone wrong in this country?

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