With Britain potentially facing its worst winter homelessness crisis for 20 years, the National Landlord Association (NLA) and Residential Landlords Association (RLA) are supporting a Crisis campaign to get the government to commit £31m a year to help homeless people into renting through ‘Help to Rent’ projects and by funding a national rent deposit guarantee scheme.
The private landlord bodies have decided the time is right to support the national charity for homeless people ahead of the chancellor’s Budget statement next month.
Homeless people can struggle with the upfront costs of renting, while landlords often consider it too risky to rent to them.
It is feared on-going problems with the roll-out of Universal Credit are adding to the issue with just two in 10 private landlords saying they would rent to people supported by Universal Credit.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, commented: “If you’re homeless, private renting may be your only hope of finding a place to live. Yet homeless people are finding it harder and harder to secure a private tenancy. Added to this is the significant complications the roll-out of Universal Credit is causing.
“Far too many people are experiencing delays in their payments, meaning they can’t pay their rents. At best, landlords will start to see recipients of Universal Credit as ‘risky tenants’. At worst, this could result in people losing their homes, and with homelessness on the rise, that’s a road we just can’t afford to go down.
“We need to make sure – whether the system is rolled out or delayed – that the most vulnerable tenants are properly supported. That’s why we’re calling on the Government to fund Help to Rent projects and establish a national rent deposit guarantee scheme this Autumn Budget to help renters secure a tenancy and maintain their payments, and give landlords the peace of mind they need.”
Help to Rent projects can help alleviate landlords’ concerns by providing training for tenants, ongoing tenancy support and services for landlords. Homeless people are also supported to overcome financial obstacles to renting, such as the need for a deposit, fees and rent upfront, making them less risky tenants.
Mike Lipton, a landlord who rents out 10 properties through Help to Rent schemes, said: “Help to Rent schemes crucially help those who need it most. They also help me by guaranteeing my rent is paid. I have an excellent relationship with those that run the scheme and it takes all the hassle out of letting to people on benefits.”