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The National Landlords Association has revealed that tenants remain confused by the Government’s Universal Credit scheme.

Half of those surrveyed said that although they were aware existing benefits would be replaced with Universal Credit, they did not fully understand what it meant.

A fifth said they were completely unaware of the changes while just three said they knew what to expect.

Universal Credit was launched in April 2013 and replaces six existing benefits with a single monthly payment.

NLA Chairman Carolyn Uphill said: “Benefit payments simply haven’t kept up with rents over the past few years as the Universal Credit programme has progressed and cuts to welfare payments have been made. This has led to concern among many landlords that tenants will fall behind on rent as their finances become increasingly squeezed.

“If tenants don’t fully understand what Universal Credit is or haven’t even heard of it, more and more landlords will lose confidence that letting to this market is financially viable, especially with the high demand and availability from other types of tenants.

“Our findings show a significant number of tenants would prefer their housing support to be paid directly to their landlord. If this was an option from the beginning of the tenancy it would avoid the build-up of arrears in the first place, give landlords the confidence that rent would be paid on time and lead to fewer tenancies ending prematurely.”

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