Landlords face ‘failed system’ when renting to tenants on Universal Credit, says NRLA

Landlords believe the government’s rent payment packaged for private tenants is not fit for purpose and is ©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - Landlords face ‘failed system’ when renting to tenants on Universal Credit, says NRLA | LandlordZONE.

Landlords face ‘failed system’ when renting to tenants on Universal Credit, says NRLA

Landlords believe the government’s rent payment packaged for private tenants is not fit for purpose and is a failed system, MPs have been told.

The comments were made via video link by NRLA chief Ben Beadle to a parliamentary select committee, which is looking into how well the system of helping private tenants in receipt of Universal Credit pay their rent is working.

Approximately 25% or private renters or 3.25 million people in the UK are in receipt of what used to be called housing benefit but it now rolled into Universal Credit payments.

In England and Wales the system is moving to a model of support comprising the housing cost element of Universal Credit determined by the Local Housing Allowance, constrained by the benefits cap and removal of the spare room subsidy, and topped up where necessary by a discretionary payments.

The concern for many landlords, apart from where tenants can’t manage their finances, is that only 46% of private tenants on Universal Credit have their rent paid in full by the benefit.

“I think the very fact that we have a discretionary payments system is the sign of a failed system,” said Beadle.

“Landlords and tenants shouldn’t be expected to rely on emergency stop-gap payments like this.

“The system, although well intentioned, is in need of an overhaul as payments do not meet their housing costs and that poses real challenges to landlords and tenants alike.”

Painful

He also told MPs that getting payments up and running was painful including the five-week wait for payments to start.

He suggested that the system should be organised so that landlords are unaware whether a tenant is on benefits or not – a proposal that would end ‘No DSS’ type discrimination.

Beadle also criticised the government’s decision to freeze the LHA rates, which he said would cause significant problems down the line as private rented sector rates continue to rise, but LHA rates don’t keep up.

MPs heard from Paul Silvester, Head of Housing Options for Bristol City Council, that only 2% of PRS properties in the city had rents that were covered in full by local LHA rates.

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Airbnb calls for national short-lets landlord register

Airbnb is calling for a national register for the short-term lets sector following its nationwide consultation involving ©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - Airbnb calls for national short-lets landlord register | LandlordZONE.

Airbnb calls for national short-lets landlord register

Airbnb is calling for a national register for the short-term lets sector following its nationwide consultation involving tourism bosses and local community leaders.

The ‘white paper’ suggests operators should have a registration number from the government or a devolved authority in order to list their homes on a short-term letting platform or through conventional methods.

This would give councils the ability to notify platforms about issues with listings in their area. Platforms could then individually – or collectively – remove bad hosts, preventing people from simply switching their listing to another booking site.

Airbnb wants new planning guidance that distinguishes between commercial and non-commercial/amateur lets so that local authorities can use existing powers to grant or deny permission in a transparent way.

It also believes that police and fire services should have access to the register while operators should have to prove they understand existing health and safety standards, including requirements on health and safety certificates, insurance, gas safety and cleaning. 

Merilee Karr, chair of the , says: “If the home nations decide to explore registration systems further, established best practice in other European countries point to an industry-wide online system that is simple to use, easy to access and low cost to both administer and register.

“This will enable homeowners to operate transparently and in line with local policy and legislation without burdensome hurdles to being able to share their homes when they would otherwise be sitting empty.”  

The research consulted 70 representatives from , tourism organisations and local communities in cities including Brighton, Bristol, Bath, London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Airbnb’s findings will now be presented to the government. 

©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - Airbnb calls for national short-lets landlord register | LandlordZONE.

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