The National Landlords Association has come out fighting in response to a weekend report by the National Housing Federation suggesting buy to let operators ‘lined their pockets’ with housing benefit payments.
As we reported yesterday, the NHF claims the amount of housing benefit going to private landlords has more than doubled in the past decade, with landlords receiving £9.3 billion last year - over twice the £4.6 billion of 2006.
Housing benefit recipients have grown 42 per cent over the same period.
The NHF report was accompanied by a statement by the organisation’s chief executive, David Orr, saying: "It’s madness to spend £9 billion of taxpayers' money lining the pockets of private landlords rather than investing in affordable homes. The lack of affordable housing available means that a wider group of people need housing benefit."
Now the NLA has hit back.
“Housing benefit is not a subsidy to landlords; it’s a support for tenants to ensure they can pay for their housing. However, the proportion of landlords who let to tenants in receipt of housing benefit has halved over the last five years as benefit levels have not kept up with rents” says Richard Lambert, NLA chief executive officer.
“The private rented sector has grown as the market responds to the increasing demand for homes, particularly from a growing proportion of tenants whom the social sector and housing associations simply are not able to support in the current circumstances” he continues.
“The private rented sector plays a significant role in providing much-needed homes for tenants so there seems no real benefit in the NHF taking a cheap shot at landlords. What we should all be talking about is the failure of successive governments to adequately allocate its housing budget and to incentivise the building of new homes. In the long term, that would be the best use of taxpayers’ money”.