What are the reasons most often given by Landlords for not accepting tenants on benefits?
- “They are people who don’t work and don’t care about their responsibilities”
- “They will not pay and cause damage to my property”
- “Local housing allowance is paid a month in arrears I will not get the rent on time”
In my opinion these are emotional reasons based on perception not facts. People become benefit claimers for many different reasons and my experience is that only a small proportion are lazy or irresponsible.
Career minded people with jobs can be just as problematic;
- they could loose their job at anytime.
- they could easily have an accident that may prevent them working.
Would you make a perfectly good tenant leave as they had no option but to start claiming benefits?
They might not even tell you or the agent that their circumstances have changed. If they are paying their rent on time and looking after the property how would you know a situation had arisen?
You can never see what’s going to happen in the future. Your tenants could be a family with children. What would happen if her partner left and she was to start claiming benefits? Would you make her and her children homeless just because she was claiming housing allowance?
So how can a Landlord become more confident about Tenants on housing benefits;
- If you’re worried about not getting the rent on time protect yourself by asking the tenant to get a guarantor.
- Have the tenant and guarantor properly referenced
- Take out rent insurance.
Most Local Housing Allowance claimers are good responsible tenants. They want a home with stability. Most of the time during the tenancy they are more likely to improve the home by decorating and tending to the garden.
My advice to landlords is start with an open mind about people who claim housing benefits, instead of going in with a closed mind. Circumstances can change and anyone could become a local housing allowance claimer even yourself or me.
The real question in my opinion should be for all landlords: “what do you actually want?”; the answer is surely “rent paid on time and my property looked after”. If you follow the steps outlined above with the help of an experienced local property letting agent the benefit claimer is no higher risk and in fact it may well prove to be a better experience.