Benefit changes pushing the young out of rented housing

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Government changes to remove housing benefit from 18 to 21 year olds from April 2017 will make it far more difficult for them to access rented housing according to landlords.

A new survey of more than 1,000 landlords has found that 76% will be reluctant to rent accommodation to this age group because they fear that they may not have enough money to pay the rent.

The survey also showed the devastating effects of the Government’s planned benefit cap, with over 65% of landlords being reluctant to let properties to tenants who are of working age and on benefits because the cap might affect their ability to meet rent costs.

Compiled by the Residential Landlords Association, the data also showed that those aged under 35 may also face problems accessing rented accommodation. Since 2012 they have only been able to claim benefit for a room in a shared house and 53% of landlords do not intend to renew such tenancies because of fear about payments not being made.

According to Government statistics, in 2013-14 48% of all households aged 25-34 were in the private rented sector.

Commenting on the results, RLA Vice-Chairman, Chris Town said: “The results confirm that reforms to housing benefit are making it increasingly risky for landlords to rent to those receiving it.

“Rented housing is crucial to enabling young people to quickly access work opportunities wherever they might be. By making it more difficult for them to secure rental properties Ministers are making work prospects increasingly difficult for them.

“A simple solution would be to give tenants the option of having payments of the housing element of Universal Credit paid directly to the landlord. This would give all tenants and landlords the security of knowing the rent has been paid.”

To view the full English Housing Survey for 2013-14 click here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.


  • if the landlord is paid direct he is then liable if the tenant has made a false claim the landlord would have to pay all the money back then he is stuck with a tenant owing thousands and the long process of eviction while not getting any more rent

  • Published Wednesday, August 26, 2015
    The Government intends to withdraw Housing Benefit entitlement from some 18-21 year olds from April 2017. This briefing considers evidence on the potential impact of withdrawal and provides comment from organisations and those working with young homeless people.

    Jump to full report >>

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