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Landlords advised to explore avenues for new tenants

Residential landlords are ignoring a large proportion of potential tenants, warns an organisation whose job it is to provide landlords with key services.

Landlord Assist, a company that provides services for professional and individual landlords, believes that many landlords are turning their backs on a lucrative market because of government legislation.

They say that many buy-to-let landlords are ignoring tenants who are on Local Housing Allowance because the local authorities pass the benefit onto the tenant rather than the landlord. It is certainly true that this has been a cause of concern in the past for landlords who struggled to get their rents on time from certain tenants but Graham Kinnear, managing director of Landlord Assist, thinks that landlords who protect themselves by taking out landlord insurance have little to fear. He explained “We believe that approximately 20 percent of tenants are in receipt of a Housing Benefit Award, which is a substantial amount of the market. Local Housing Allowance has been under a degree of scrutiny over the last 18 months and a number of landlords have decided to opt for working tenants only. However, in doing so, they are missing out on 20 percent of tenants, which equates to over 750,000 tenants nationally.”

The company believe one way to help landlords to take on LHA tenants would be for some sort of middle man or guarantor to be set up whereby the payment of rent is assured if the tenant defaults. They certainly anticipate more would be tenants could be on LHA if the impending spending review puts large numbers of public servants out of work.

Certainly many landlord organisations have campaigned for the government to alter the scheme to one where landlords are paid their rent directly by the Local Authority. Grant Shapps, the new housing minister has indicated he is supportive of landlords and their role in providing accommodation for the UK’s house hunters and it is hoped he will turn his attentions to this particular problem.

By Simon Dack

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