Opportunity for landlords in private sector interested in small units

Private landlords looking to expand their portfolio may well be advised to look for landlord insurance on smaller units if the warnings issued by the bosses of big organisations in the social housing sector are anything to go by.

Changes in bill could cause problems

Two of the biggest names in the social housing sector gave evidence to the MP’s committee considering the changes to the Welfare Reform Bill, and both highlighted concerns over the lack of smaller properties.

David Orr, the Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, and Steven Reed, representing the London Councils, both said the proposed changes to the bill will expose a serious shortfall in the availability of small properties for those asked to leave under-occupied buildings.

Time running short

The problem will impact in less than two years time when social tenants who occupy a home that is classed as too big for them; i.e. 1 person living in a two bedroomed flat, could be asked to leave and make way for a small family. Mr Orr said that although there are plenty of small families looking for a two bedroomed flat there are not that many one bedroomed flats available for the original tenant to be moved to.

Concerns across the spectrum

The feelings of Mr Orr were backed by Mr Reed and also by a representative from the charity Shelter which is dedicated to helping the homeless. They all concurred that social housing was not readily available for single people and unless something is done about the situation then the changes proposed would be unworkable.

MPs were also told that the £26,000 cap on social payments to workless households could also impact on the demand for smaller units as big families may be forced to split up or manage in smaller surroundings. This element, they said, could also be detrimental to families with children who have severe disabilities.

Private landlords could help

Landlords in the larger towns and cities will surely see a window of opportunity here, especially if they are already looking to expand their business. Most experts agree that most signs suggest the future is bright for private landlords just now, although all do agree that organising let property insurance on any new acquisition is a must. Councils and private landlords are working together more and more to improve facilities for private tenants and the Welfare Reform Bill looks like one more opportunity to extend this.

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