Negative attitudes of landlords towards tenants on benefits have been revealed in a new study.
Fewer than one in five (18%) of UK landlords currently let to tenants receiving housing benefits, according to research from flat and house share site SpareRoom.co.uk.
It also revealed that only 35% of landlords had let to tenants on benefits in the past.
And the rental landscape has changed markedly over the past two years. At the end of 2011, more than a third (34%) of landlords surveyed had tenants on benefits in one or more of their properties, while almost half (45%) said they had previously taken in this type of tenant.
Almost six in 10 landlords (57%) refuse to accept anyone on benefits now, specifically stating "no housing benefit tenants" in room adverts – while almost two thirds (65%) of landlords say they wouldn’t take a tenant on benefits even if they had guarantors.
Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom.co.uk, said: “The 2008 move to stop landlords receiving rent payments direct – designed to give those on benefits greater responsibility for their finances – has had overwhelmingly negative and lasting repercussions for tenants receiving housing benefits.
"Almost six in ten landlords now won't even entertain the idea of letting to tenants on benefits, and our research shows this could only be the tip of the iceberg as the rollout of universal credit is set to make the situation even worse."