A survey from a specialist rental insurance firm suggests that contrary to popular belief, landlords care more than a little about their tenants.
Against the backdrop of regulatory pressures such as reduced tax relief, stricter lending requirements, revised regulations for houses of multiple occupancy, and the rollout of Universal Credit, some 43 per cent of landlords either have or say they would support vulnerable tenants, including those receiving housing allowance, if they failed to report damage to their property. Just 27 per cent say they would serve notice.
Only 16 per cent say that Universal Credit was going to change their investment strategy, indicating that many will continue to work with tenants on benefits.
Most landlords are also prepared to work with Universal Credit tenants who fall into arrears - with figures from the Residential Landlords Association indicating that nearly two thirds of landlords have successfully put in place alternative payment plans when things have gone awry.
“There is no doubt that Universal Credit is putting both tenants and landlords under pressure. It’s refreshing to how many landlords actively want to support tenants when they get into difficulties, and how many want to help plug the social housing gap so many local authorities face” says Alex Huntley of Simple Landlords Insurance, the firm that commissioned the survey.
“We hear a lot about rogue landlords but this research presents a rather more humanitarian view. Landlords are people. The problem is, that they are not charities. They are people who are running businesses – and they can’t run at a loss.
“Legislation like Universal Credit is making it harder and harder to view tenants on benefits as a valid strategy – and despite these landlords’ good intentions, I worry where that’s going to leave some of the UKs most vulnerable tenants in 2018.”