We’ve released the results of two surveys of landlords over the past month, which have found some interesting attitudes towards housing benefit cuts, and a large number of tenants failing to pay the rent on time.
Firstly, our Local Housing Allowance (LHA) survey questioned 455 landlords about their attitudes towards the benefit cuts. Not surprisingly, many landlords say they’ll struggle to able to afford to run their lettings business when they cuts take full effect.
The cuts will see a cap on the amount of housing benefit paid, depending on the size of the property, while LHA rates are now determined based on the bottom 30th percentile of rents in an area, rather than the 50th percentile. The £15 excess payment is also being scrapped.
Of the landlords we surveyed, 58% said they would have to cut the number of properties they let to benefit recipients. Of these landlords, 90% plan to do so in the next 18 months while about one third say they’ll be reducing the number of properties rented to LHA recipients immediately.
A closer look at the figures found more than 80 per cent of landlords expressed concern about the reduction of LHA rates from the average market rent to the bottom 30 per cent. The same number were also worried about future LHA increases being linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rather than true market rents.
More than 90 per cent of landlords say they simply can’t afford to cut their rents to absorb the changes in LHA. Many are already facing high mortgage repayments and rising running costs and doing so would make their business unviable.
Meanwhile, our quarterly survey of landlords conducted with specialist researchers BDRC on all landlord issues has found many are still receiving rent payments late.
Nearly 600 landlords were questioned, with 52 percent reporting rent arrears in the past 12 months. The average late paying tenant is £730 in arrears.
And many landlords also believe running a lettings business is becoming more difficult. 62% say it has become harder recently.
But it’s not all bad news. The survey also found that 78% of landlords feel positive about being a landlord and they are becoming more optimistic about their business.
For more information on how the NLA can help support landlords through these changes, or how you might be able to benefit from membership, visit www.landlords.org.uk