Universal Credit Objection from Private Landlords

A private landlord group has risen up against the introduction of Universal Credit, claiming that it is likely to result in the need for increased emergency accommodation for tenants on the benefit.

Approximately 60 members of the Eastern Landlords Association (ELA) from Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft met to discuss the impact of the introduction of Universal Credit in the area, with many claiming that they would refuse to let properties to claimants.

Chairman of the ELA Paul Cunningham argued that there has been a growing necessitation for emergency housing since the introduction of Universal Credit to the area last April. He alleged that the number of rough sleepers is at an all time high in both Yarmouth and Lowestoft, a factor he claimed is is due to landlords’ reluctance to take on tenants on the benefit scheme. Of those present, all refused to let to those on Universal Credit because of the six to 12 week wait for rental payment.

In a letter written to borough councillors, Mr Cunningham asserted that all members of the group would no longer accommodate such tenants, with those in arrears set to be issued with a section 21 repossession notice which allows eight weeks to leave.

The letter read: ‘If private landlords continue with this regime the council will have to house these unfortunate people in emergency accommodation at a cost to the tax payer.’

However, A DWP Spokesman said: ‘The best way to help people pay their rent is to help them into work, and under UC people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the old system. Our research shows that the majority of UC claimants are comfortable managing their budgets, and we’re working with local authorities and landlords to get extra support to those people who may find themselves in arrears.’

Great Yarmouth Borough Council stated: ‘All those who apply to the borough council for housing or temporary accommodation are assessed on their individual circumstances, in line with the council’s policy and relevant legislation, to determine their eligibility. It is therefore not possible at this stage to indicate what impact any decision of private landlords in respect of private tenants claiming UC would have on the borough council’s housing service. The council will continue to monitor the situation.’

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