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Industry group comes out fighting over housing benefit claims

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”.

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    Councils spend vast amounts of benefits cash on their housing - that is socially a good thing even though the money is well and truly spent.

    Councils spend vast amounts of benefits cash on private housing- that is a morally bad thing even though the money is well and truly spent.

    If councils run social housing they have to maintain the housing. My personal experience of council house work is that it is dire with the quality of work running close to that of a farmer's cow shed. It is also very inefficiently carried out

    Private landlords have to maintain the housing they let to high standards so that people will rent the property. For that tenants get good maintenance which a private landlord will do efficiently because they are paying for it and they want the tenant to stay put. Funnily enough they do not like tenants who would be happy living in a cow shed. They do exist believe me.

    I am sure there are exceptions but the only advantage that I can see is that councils get to own vast bureaucracies and employ lots of staff. That must mean that councils are doing lots of good. Like.....!
    Councils then have to cheek to want to licence landlords and to do this they employ even more staff and charge a lot of money for licences. It is a pity that the private sector can not deduct local taxes from the council for removing property from the private sector.

    Is it me who has lost the plot or is it our society?

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    I rent to a tenant on housing benefits. The rent has been stopped for two months because the tenant has failed to respond to the council's forms or terms. Far from the tenant suffering its the landlord who has his rent cheques stopped and the hassle of sorting out the mess. Why would landlords bother with such tenants who show little responsibility as the council pays for a roof over their heads. And true - rents have fallen way below market value. I shall be seeking a private tenant very shirtly.

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