Welfare Reform and Homelessness


Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

With private sector landlords often unfairly blamed for the increase in the number of homeless on the UK streets the RLA has submitted an official response to a Government inquiry, defending its members.

The RLA believes there are many external contributing factors putting pressure on landlords that need to be highlighted when it comes to tackling the issue.

As a result of this the RLA has submitted a written response to the Department for Communities and Local Governments’ call for evidence on the reasons behind the increase in homelessness.

In our response we highlight that:

  • It is a common myth that landlords will evict tenants without reason, but we found in a survey of over 1,700 members that only just over half had ever evicted a tenant and 89% had said that this was due to rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
  • The raft of welfare reforms that are about to hit many low income claimants and families are already starting to make landlords worry. In our Welfare Survey this month 66% of more than 800 respondents answered that they are more reluctant to let properties to tenants who are of working age and on benefits because of the benefit cap.
  • At present the Private Rented Sector is facing unprecedented targeting by the Government and Treasury. The restrictions on mortgage interest relief are causing landlords to reconsider who they rent to as they need a less risky return on their investment with reliable rent payments and possible rent increases to cover the extra cost.
  • One of the most important things the Government can do to help prevent homelessness is to simply increase the supply of affordable housing. The Government seems to recognise this, however increasing stamp duty for buy-to-let purchases, reducing mortgage interest relief and changes to other tax allowances such as wear and tear are clear disincentives for small landlords.

You can read our response in full 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.

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