View more on these topics

LHA Pathfinder report highlights letting activity

Key early findings from the evaluation of the Local Housing Allowance Pathfinders, are published today.

The report is part of a series that gives feedback on the evaluation and looks at the early impact of the LHA on landlords and letting agents, around a year after its introduction in each of the nine Pathfinders. The report focuses on the impact on them of the LHA, particularly in terms of their letting decisions and strategies.

Key findings show that landlord and letting agent activity in terms of changes in portfolio size largely followed the predictions the respondents had made with regard to their future intentions at the baseline stage.

The majority of respondents had made no change to their number of lettings, but where changes had taken place they appeared to reflect respondents’ longer-term portfolio strategies. Changes to portfolio size had occurred for a range of reasons, many of which were unrelated to the introduction of the LHA.

Awareness of the LHA was common amongst the respondents. 85% of landlords and letting agents had heard of the new benefit and of these, 68% knew the rates that were payable to different household sizes. However, satisfaction with the LHA was not widespread. Of respondents who had heard of the LHA, 56% say that it had made them less likely to want to let to Housing Benefit tenants.

Landlords’ and letting agents’ unwillingness to let to tenants on LHA was often explained by actual experience of rent arrears under the system, although some were unwilling due to their fear, rather than actual experience, of rent arrears.

Difficulties with arrears do not appear to have been offset, at this stage of the evaluation, by other benefits that were intended to accrue from the introduction of the LHA. For example, about as many respondents thought that LHA processing times were quicker as thought they were slower than under the previous system, and information on the LHA was often thought to be neither harder nor easier to acquire than under the former Housing Benefit system.

There was some variation in the experience of and attitude towards the LHA amongst different landlord types. Corporate landlords were the least likely to be satisfied with the workings of the new regulations, and were more likely to be having difficulties with rent payment methods and the accrual of rent arrears.

These problems were perhaps reflected in the marked withdrawal from letting to claimants on LHA that was evident amongst corporate landlords. Although this landlord group was relatively small in number, they often have large portfolios. Both individual and couple landlords and letting agents noted an increase in demand from LHA tenants, and many thought this was because other landlords had stopped letting to them.


BMS launches online application for additional lending

BM Solutions has launched its online application process for additional borrowing. By allowing brokers to process applications online, BMS says it brings both cost and time benefits, reducing paperwork and manual form filling.Once brokers have keyed in their applications, a decision letter will be despatched within 48 hours. This will be further enhanced in the […]

SIPPs could boost property purchases

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is predicting an extra 160,000 property purchases following the introduction of self invested personal pensions on April 6 2006. But the report from RICS warns that although regional hotspots could get even hotter, SIPPs will have a minimal impact on most of the market. The report also suggests potential […]

City analysts not convinced of Bank base rate change

Gary Hockey-Morley, director of mortgages at Abbey, says that city analysts are now less convinced about a change in the Bank base rate before Christmas and that this is good news for savers, but not so good for borrowers who might be opting for a cut.Hockey-Morley says: Next week the Monetary Policy Committee will meet […]

It’s time for the FSA to look into lenders’ service levels

Name and address supplied I’d like to tell readers about the poor service I recently received from Northern Rock (all within 24 hours). A Together DIP was carried out for my clients and sent for referral for increased income multiples. I received a call confirming the loan had been agreed and that my clients could […]

Strong dollar can be a powerful driver of UK dividend growth in 2015

By Robin Geffen, fund manager and CEO 

This year threatens to be a challenging one for UK dividend hunters. Last year saw an all-time record amount paid out in UK dividends — some £97.4bn, according to research from Capita Dividend Monitor. Yet as Capita also pointed out, out the biggest single factor driving the growth in the fourth quarter of last year was easy to identify: the rising US dollar. 

In our view, this trend is much more than simply a one-quarter phenomenon. It is actually the most profound issue to get right as a UK equity income investor in 2015. We believe that the US dollar will continue to strengthen significantly from its current level. This is due more to the US economy’s demonstrable de-coupling from the rest of the world than to a view on the UK. The US has a strong chance of tightening monetary conditions this year without jeopardising growth or de-stabilising its housing market. The same can unfortunately not be said about the UK.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up
  • Post a comment
  • A true British lover 21st February 2010 at 3:28 am

    True. I agree with NLA. I think the government is being stupid. Look at the way housing benefit works now, they got LHA, which is a good idea, but the payment made to tenant is not being paid to landlords. So what option does that leaves to the landlord, if the rent is not paid, what can a landlord do?

    The government lives in a fairyland, they don’t realise a lot of unemployed tenant have finance problems and many are also on drugs or have gambling addiction. Government need to wake up. Some of the tenants are claiming housing benefit and not paying the rent, shouldn’t that be seen as benefit fraud?

    Secondly the register for landlord will not work. Best thing to do is have a ombudsman to work by resolving issues for tenants and landlord. And the deposit protection scheme should be scrapped, the deposit protection scheme is not working and its very unlikely the landlord register will work.

    Just open a ombudsman for tenants and landlords to resolve issues, scrap the deposit protection scheme, scrap paying housing benefit paid directly to the tenant, pay the housing benefit direct to the landlord, this will reduce the fraud.

    Create a database for all non UK citizens. The database to contain all European Union national as well as all foreign nationals to ensure they don’t cheat the housing benefit system. I know there are lots of fraud due to the government paying housing benefit to the tenant, now the tenant don’t pay the rent, and secondly once they get tenancy agreement then they stop paying the rent and claim housing benefit, so the landlord evicts them, however the tenant use mail redirection letter with the post office services to redirect all housing benefit cheques to other address and they cash the cheque, when the innocent landlords have no idea whats going on as he have already evicted the tenant and knows nothing about the housing benefit claim as the landlord is not informed the tenant is claiming the housing benefit. Now why should the landlords get punished???

    Look at the tenant, the tenant offers no security, they just run away with rent, furniture, and appliances, now when these tenants steal and leaves without paying rent then the landlord have to be very worried next time s/he rents out as they don’t want same things happening again. So get the tenant sorted, get the law sorted to protect landlords too just like there is law overprotecting the tenants then see whether the landlord follows and works ethically.