Benefit concerns

LANDLORD Assist, the nationwide tenant eviction and referencing firm, has criticised the Government’s plans to stop people under 25 who are unemployed from receiving housing benefit.

Currently, younger people who are out of work and renting in the private sector are only entitled to local housing allowance (LHA) at the same rate as someone renting a single room in a shared house.

However, the Government’s policy unit is now looking at preventing young people under 25 from receiving housing benefit and instead forcing them to live with their parents until they can afford to move out.

The proposal is part of the Government’s plans to “make work pay” but Graham Kinnear, managing director at Landlord Assist, believes this could force many tenants into rent arrears and have a damaging impact on landlords who rent out their properties to recipients of housing benefits as they will be less likely to receive rent payments.

He said: “If the Government was to progress with this proposal it would force thousands of tenants into rent arrears, hit landlords financially if they don’t receive rent payments, and have a damaging impact on the buy-to-let industry as a whole.

“Furthermore, it will also deepen the housing shortage for the young as landlords and letting agents will be even less likely to accept anyone out of work who is under 25 as they will be unable to pay any rent at all.”

Stephen Parry, commercial director at Landlord Assist said: “The Government are working on the basis that such a move would mean that those under 25 who are out of work would remain living with their parents, a situation which may not be ideal for some people for a variety of reasons.

“Given the current unemployment levels this is a plan which could have far reaching consequences.”

Contact Landlord Assist on 08707 662288 or via their website www.landlordassist.co.uk