Councils not asking landlords to lower rents
Three-quarters of private landlords have not been approached by councils about reducing rents in return for direct payment of local housing allowance.
A survey published today by the National Landlords Association, which represents 1.2 million private landlords, shows just 25 per cent of landlords have been approached by their local authority to reduce rents.
David Cameron on 11 January drew criticism earlier this year when he claimed rents were falling as a result of the government’s welfare reforms.
A Number 10 spokesperson later said landlords were voluntarily dropping rents in return for direct payments of LHA from councils, which administer the scheme. Rules changed last year to enable councils to do this.
The NLA survey of 956 landlords also shows 53 per cent of landlords believe LHA cuts have made living costs more unaffordable for tenants, with 47 per cent believing under 35s will be hit the hardest.
David Salusbury, chairman of the NLA, said: ‘’Local authorities must acknowledge that landlords have to cover costs and cannot simply reduce rents to cover benefit cuts.
‘It is vital they actively engage with tenants and landlords to discuss how these cuts will affect them.
‘They have the discretion to make LHA payments direct to housing providers, but our research shows that only 25 per cent of local authorities are currently speaking with landlords. ‘
An Inside Housing investigation earlier this year revealed just 36 councils in England had reported any rent reductions in return for direct payment of LHA.