Responding to news that Zoopla will ban property owners advertising properties to rent as ‘No DSS’ on its website, Chris Town, Vice Chair of the Residential Landlords Association said:
“We welcome the announcement from Zoopla which comes after extensive campaigning by the RLA. Landlords should not refuse someone solely because they are on benefits, and should consider prospective tenants on a case by case basis. But with growing numbers of benefit claimants now reliant on the private rented sector we need to do more to give tenants and landlords greater confidence in the benefits system.
This means building on positive changes already made by the Government by giving all tenants the right to choose if they want to have the housing element of Universal Credit paid directly to their landlord; working with bank lenders to remove mortgage terms that prevent landlords renting to benefit claimants as NatWest has already done; and ending the Local Housing Allowance freeze which has meant benefits bear little resemblance to rents.
We look forward to working constructively with the Government to address these issues.”
RLA research has found that the average amount owed by Universal Credit tenants in rent arrears increased by half from just over £1,600 in 2017 to almost £2,400 in 2018.
Around two thirds of the largest buy-to-let mortgage lenders do not allow landlords to rent property to tenants receiving housing benefit.
Research by Manchester Metropolitan University for the RLA has found that 53% of landlords reported that the gap between the Local Housing Allowance and local market rent was more than £50 a month. Almost 25% said the gap was over £100 a month.