Thousands of Universal Credit claimants at risk of rental market rejection​

Property News

Thousands of Universal Credit claimants could be at risk of homelessness, as landlords refuse to consider their rental application, research has revealed.

The report, by tenant referencing and insurance agency Landlord Secure, found that 16% of landlords would refuse to progress an application from any prospective renter who was in receipt of Universal Credit payments. This is despite estimates suggesting that 37% of Universal Credit claimants are in employment.

Last week’s Budget announcements have been seen by many as only a feeble attempt to repair the issues created by Universal Credit.

A further one in five (20%) landlords said they would reject any applicant who requires support from housing benefits.

Commenting on the findings, Steve Burrows, managing director at Landlord Secure, said: “Universal Credit was introduced to help the poorest in society out of poverty, but this report provides even more evidence that the system is not working.

“Whilst unfair, it’s hardly surprising that landlords are unwilling to accept tenants who could be relying on Universal Credit to meet monthly rental obligations; particularly given the scheme’s six-week waiting time for first payments. The impending lettings fee ban, which many have predicted will create rent inflation, is only set to compound the issue.

“However, there are those who – despite receiving Universal Credit – are indeed capable of making rental payments, and in this respect the system is failing once again. Most landlords do not currently have access to an applicant’s financial history, so may automatically reject applicants based on their receipt of benefits, when in fact they would be financially suitable for the property. This could leave them in an extremely vulnerable position, without a roof over their heads.

“The market needs to do more to provide the kind of products that allow landlords to get the full picture of their tenant’s financial status so they can make better decisions that work for them and ultimately the tenant.”

For the full findings of the report, please visit: https://www.landlordsecure.co.uk/news-and-media

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