Category Archives: Housing Benefit

The Private Rented Sector Will Not Entertain Void Periods and Local Authorities and Housing Associations Need to Understand This

Letting agents, local authorities and housing associations must start to understand that private landlords want to let fast and won’t entertain void periods. Many council and housing association schemes with private landlords fail to meet this need. All smart landlords (and smart letting agents who know their business) know that minimisation of the “void period” is critical to success in […]

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Universal Credit the Private Rented Sector and a Sense of Groundhog Day

Summary: The government’s plan to normally pay the Local Housing Allowance part of the planned Universal Credit to tenants (not to landlords) reminds us of the film “Groundhog Day”.  Haven’t we been here before and did we not learn from what happened last time? The Universal Credit was first announced at the Conservative Party Conference in 2010, though the idea […]

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Do Private Rented Sector Rents Follow LHA Rates

An interesting new report from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and the British Property Federation (BPF) disputes claims from some in government that past rises in the housing benefit bill were caused by landlords increasing rents in order to take advantage of pre-determined benefit levels. The report is called “Leading the Market” and it concluded that a more likely […]

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Accreditation Private Landlords and the Social Letting Agency Model

Key Point: Most private landlords don’t set high value on things like membership of accreditation schemes and property inspections offered by some councils as part of Local Letting Agency schemes designed to attract landlords. They won’t pay much for these features either – especially where a good private let alternative exists. Local authorities must be realistic about what landlords want […]

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What Type of Tenant Is Best for Landlords

People often ask me “What sort of tenants should I pick?” My answer is “Well, that depends upon what type of property you have and what the local market demand (and supply) is like.” Of course, if you are any good at this business you’ll know to check where the tenant demand is likely to come from before you buy. […]

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Discharging Homelessness Duty to the Private Rented Sector – but where is the Property in the PRS

Key Point:  We are concerned that whilst local authorities will, in theory, be able to discharge the homelessness duty into the private rented sector, the reality is that many councils may not have done enough to convince private landlords to make their property available to this end of the lettings market. On Monday, I featured with a clutch of housing […]

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Less Rent for Landlords Under LHA if they Agree to be Paid Direct

The forthcoming Local Housing Allowance (LHA) caps and reductions have brought with them a range of technical and practical issues, including also impacts on landlords who never let to LHA tenants. Statutory instruments SI #2835 2010 (which came into force 1 April 2011) allow local authorities slightly more discretion about whether to pay LHA directly to landlords. It states that […]

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Social Letting Agency An approach for Local Letting Agency Models that works for Landlords

Some of our work at LettingFocus involves working with local authorities on setting up local or “social letting agencies” and “private rented sector access schemes.” The aim of the various schemes is to try to encourage landlords to consider letting to tenants who are on housing benefits, who are vulnerably housed or who “present” to the local authority seeking a […]

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Local Housing Allowance and Housing Benefit not of interest for Majority of Private Landlords

Many local authorities, housing associations and charities designing strategies to try to get private landlords to let to tenants on Local Housing Allowance are very fond of doing surveys of landlords. (Readers of this blog will know how critical I was of one particular survey of landlords that, last year, was used to make some astonishing claims for the impact […]

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Government Policy on the Private Rented Sector is Not Joined Up

Sometimes government policy doesn’t seem to join up too well – with different policies apparently conflicting with each other. Two good examples are (1) the lending activities of state owned banks which appear to hamper what local councils are trying to do with their private rented sector access schemes, especially lease schemes and (2) policies on HMOs which appear to […]

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