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Government ‘makes it hard for claimants and homeless to privately rent’

Government policy is making it harder than ever for benefits claimants and the homeless to rent homes, according to a new report.

The Residential Landlords Association has been working with Sheffield Hallam University as part of an investigation into access to the private rental sector by the homeless and those on benefits.

The RLA surveyed 949 landlords wwith the findings showing that despite a significant expansion of the private rental sector in recent years only 20% per cent of landlords are willing to let to homeless people – with the majority of those responding blaming government policy.

No fewer than 68 per cent said the direct payment of housing benefit to the tenant was making them less willing to rent to benefit claimants, for fear tenants would fall into arrears.

A similar proportion of those currently renting to these tenants said they were only doing so on the basis that housing benefit was paid direct to them.

Recent taxation changes and increased regulation – such as the Right To Rent immigration checks – also limited landlords’ willingness to rent to HB claimants and to homeless people, the RLA says.

Access costs emerged as a key barrier preventing homeless people from using the private rented sector. The association says the requirement for a deposit alone was often enough to prevent access to a private rented tenancy, but agent fees and advance rent were also significant barriers.

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