PRESS ARTICLE: Can Private Landlords Plug The Housing Gap For Social Tenants?

Recent research for the National Housing Federation and Crisis that was carried out by Heriot-Watt University reveals that 145,000 affordable homes should be built annually for the next five years, of which 90,000 a year should be for social rent.

This is the lowest-cost housing that councils and housing associations provide, with rents tied to local incomes. In recent times, fewer than 7,000 new homes a year have been created in this category in England.

According to Shelter, building social housing will be an investment, as it will cut the housing benefits being paid to private landlords. “The bottom line is, you cannot solve affordability without genuinely affordable homes,” says the housing charity Shelter. “That means we need to address the chronic shortage of social homes in this country. This shortage is at the heart our housing emergency.”

When the ban on tenant evictions ends on 31 May 2021, many local authorities expect to see an increase in levels of homelessness, with 94% saying they expect to see an increase in people made homeless after being evicted from the private rented sector, and an increase in newly unemployed people made homeless by the pandemic.

However, landlords commencing eviction proceedings must give six months’ notice except ‘in the most serious of cases’, such as instances of domestic abuse or anti-social behaviour.

Mish Liyanage, CEO of Pick My Pad, comments: “Affordable social housing has become scarcer, leaving many households with no choice but to rent in the private sector.

“Increasingly private landlords across the country are working with local councils and housing associations to provide housing for social tenants. Alternatively, some landlords use specialised DSS letting agents and let properties to LHA tenants who are on universal credit or housing benefit.

“Over the last 12 months, we have seen a significant increase in private landlords opting for LHA tenants on universal credit and housing benefit, up 28% year on year. With the support of the right letting agent, landlords can benefit from longer tenancies with higher rents than from private tenants.

“There are many advantages of having LHA/housing benefit tenants such as consistent demand; minimal rental voids; rent being higher than private tenants; more secure long-term tenancy; and landlords having more control over their properties.

“There has been a surge in tenants on benefits looking for private rental accommodation in the North West, especially in Walkden, Little Hulton and Salford areas. The LHA rates are very good as they are in line with Central Greater Manchester rates.

“At Pick My Pad, the leading property agent for social housing in the North West of England, we warmly welcome tenants who are in receipt of benefits such as personal independence payment (PIP), housing benefit, disability allowance or universal credit (UL). “We pre-qualify all enquiries and carry out reference checks and where applicants are not able to meet certain requirements, such as guarantors or a deposit, Pick My Pad assists in securing rental deposit certificates and rental bonds from local councils.”

Pick My Pad will liaise with the council to ensure that the benefits/universal credit will be paid directly to the agency thus ensuring the landlords have the peace of mind that the rent being paid on time. www.pickmypad.com or call 0161 790 3999.