Landlords are again being urged not to forget about tenants on benefits

The owner of a lettings company that specialises in finding tenancies for pensioners has pleaded with private landlords not to turn their backs on tenants who are on benefit. Peter Girling feels it is wrong to stigmatise those who are on benefits for various reasons.

The latest research from the NHF (National Housing Federation) shows there has been a massive 484,000 rise in the number of social housing tenants during the past three years. This huge increase has coincided with the number of private landlords with buy-to-let insurance not willing to take in tenants receiving housing benefit. Both the NLA (National Landlords Association) and the RLA (Residential Landlords Association) have confirmed that many landlords have either plans to withdraw from the Local Housing Allowance market or have already done so.

Letting agent and landlord, Aki Ellahi, wrote an open letter to landlords in the Guardian newspaper where he spoke of the appalling stigma and stereotyping amongst UK landlords with regards to accepting tenants on benefits.

Peter Girling said: “I wholeheartedly agree with Aki Ellahi, over 70% of our tenants who are aged over 55 receive some form of entitlements including housing benefit. Many of these people have paid into the system over their working lives and now need some support in their retirement, as do a number of home owners who may be entitled to social and housing support. Whilst I understand their commercial concerns, my view is that landlords are being short-sighted in their knee-jerk reactions.”

There are many benefits to the landlord from letting property to a tenant on benefits. Whilst undoubtedly there are some unscrupulous people who will abuse the system, it is wrong to stereotype everyone in this category. Mr Girling is urging landlords to reconsider their attitude towards tenants on benefits and not to just automatically turn their backs on them because of the new coalition policies.

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