58% of landlords to reduce LHA lettings

More than half of private residential landlords are planning to reduce lettings to tenants on housing benefits as a result of changes to the welfare system, research by the National Landlords Association shows.

After the Welfare Reform Bill reached report stage in the House of Commons yesterday, a survey shows 58% of landlords say they will have to cut the number of properties they let to benefit recipients.

Of these, 90% plan to do so in the next 18 months, while one third say they will reduce their Local Housing Allowance properties immediately.

More than 80% of landlords say they are concerned about the reduction of LHA rates while the same number of respondents were also worried about future LHA increases being linked to the Consumer Price Index rather than true market rents.

Furthermore, 90% of landlords say they cannot afford to reduce their rents to absorb changes to LHA.

David Salusbury, chairman at the NLA, says the results are worrying and indicate that cuts to LHA benefits will force landlords out of this section of the rental market.

He says: “The private rented sector is playing an increasingly important role in providing accommodation to housing benefit recipients in the UK.

“But the government is implementing cuts which, this survey tells us, are likely to lead to an increasing number of people struggling to pay their rent.”

Salusbury adds that the NLA believes there is a risk the government’s policies will result in fewer rental properties being available to vulnerable families across the UK.

He says: “Benefit payments must ensure that LHA tenants are not left at risk and that landlords providing this much-needed housing can cover their costs.”