How can landlords help low-income families manage the rising cost of living?

woman child

How can landlords help low-income families manage the rising cost of living?

By Sue Coulson                                                                                                                                           31st March 2022

You know there’s a problem in the private rented sector when letting agents start talking about the unaffordability of properties for their prospective tenants. 

 

woman child

Agency chain Hamptons recently released research that sounded the alarm that households are about to be hit by ballooning energy bills and other cost of living increases. 

Generally, agents can be relied on to talk up the market to their clients. Could Hamptons be hinting to landlords that they should lower their expectations? The ongoing demand for properties in London suggests not. But perhaps we are nearing the limit of what tenants can afford.

Homeless charities have long highlighted the affordability gap for low-income families who spend a disproportionate amount of their household income on rent. Consumer champion Martin Lewis, the money-saving expert, has also sounded the alarm on the impact of rising energy bills and the cost of living.

Ironically, London renters may not feel the impact of bigger bills because their rent is already so high! In percentage terms, a jump in energy bills will have less impact on their overall cost of living. 

Nonetheless, London tenants are set to spend 55% of their household income on rent and bills in 2022. For households on very low incomes, paying over half your income on rent simply does not leave enough to live on.

As readers of this blog will know, councils are increasingly turning to selective licensing schemes in parts of their boroughs. They tend to licence areas with a high proportion of households claiming benefits so if your properties are in selective licence areas, your tenants are more likely to be affected.

So what can be done about the problem Hamptons has highlighted?

Capital Letters was set up to find private rented properties for people on the edge of affordability. These are the ones that councils have a legal duty to house such as families in temporary accommodation or facing homelessness. 

As demand for properties continues to outstrip supply, finding properties at LHA rates, the proxy for affordability, was already challenging. Nonetheless, many landlords have developed sound businesses by letting some or all their property portfolio to families claiming benefits.

Our one-stop service focuses on taking the hassle and risk out of letting to tenants in the benefits system. We offer landlords upfront incentive payments and help both landlords and tenants navigate the benefits system. 

We generally succeed in preventing tenancies from failing by ensuring benefits claims are completed correctly at the start of the tenancy and helping set up utilities and rent payments.

Looking ahead to a tough year for some tenants, more active support may be needed to help families on low incomes or benefits bridge the affordability gap. Our tenancy sustainment team already respond quickly to the warning signs of a tenancy in trouble. We will be even more alert in the current challenging environment.

Recent research by York University found that landlords letting to low-income families used active tenancy support to reduce the risk of arrears. Others recognised they did not have the time or skills, and use intermediaries such as Capital Letters to support tenancies.

We think that as affordability pressures increase on households on low incomes, some form of active tenancy support will become even more essential as the rising cost of living squeezes households.

Capital Letters is ready to help, but one way or another, landlords will have to find ways to support tenancies to ensure they are successful.

Sue Coulson is the chief executive of Capital Letters. Find out more about our support for landlords and tenants here: www.CapitalLetters.org.uk/landlords

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Why we need more decent homes in the private rented sector

An old and dishevelled looking property with a semi broken door and weathered windows that have the paint peeling off

Why we need more decent homes in the private rented sector

By Sue Coulson                                                                                                                                           10th February 2022

The debate about who and where is being levelled up started in earnest when the Government published its white paper, including a pledge to get private rented houses in order. 

The government press release contained pledges related to the private rented sector, though we need to wait for another white paper on renters reform to see the detail. 

However we know enough to applaud the commitment to reducing the number of homes in the PRS that fail the decent homes standard. 

The proportion of PRS homes that don’t meet the standard halved over the last decade and the government has pledged to halve it again by 2030. This is good news. The landlord sector has done a lot to improve standards but the promised crackdown on bad landlords is necessary.  

Nearly a quarter of properties in the PRS do not meet the decent homes standard. Households receiving benefits who have fewer housing options are most likely to live in sub-standard homes. 

London councillors and parliamentarians have been quick to point out that levelling up isn’t a north-south issue. There are 165,000 Londoners in temporary accommodation, which accounts for two-thirds of the total in England. These households, many with children, need levelling up too, say a London Councils and London MPs. 

Capital Letters was created by councils in London to find private rented properties so families could move out of temporary accommodation. Finding properties at local housing allowance rates remains challenging as the privately rented market becomes more buoyant. 

The latest government homelessness figures released last week showed that the private rented sector is now providing housing for proportionally more families at risk of homelessness.  

The PRS has grown steadily over recent times; we need it to play a larger role in offering homes to families who are either in temporary accommodation or at risk of homelessness.  

In 2019, social housing accounted for about 60% of discharges of main duty by councils in London with that number already starting to fall before the pandemic. By autumn last year, less than half (46%) of discharges were to social housing, while the use of the PRS nearly doubled to about 30% of discharges of main duty. 

To meet the government’s objective of improving standards in the PRS while reducing the alarming numbers of people in temporary accommodation, particularly in London, requires collaboration with private landlords, councils and the government.  

The recent National Audit Office report on private renting concluded that government must do more to support local authorities determined to improve standards in their area. The next white paper will need show how this can be done, including the expected national landlord register. 

In fact, Capital Letters only accepts properties that meet the higher quality and safety criteria demanded of our member councils. We work with landlords who provide good quality properties – so families have a safe and secure home to put down roots. There just needs to be more of them. 

If you’re a London landlord, you can request a quote for the rent and incentive payment up to £4k payable on your property. 

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Say yes to DSS – why landlords should let to families on benefits

A man looking at his young son on a scooter while he holds his daughter in one arm and a red primary school back on the other hand

Say yes to DSS – why landlords should let to families on benefits

By Sue Coulson                                                                                                                                29th November 2021

Are you blessed with long, trouble-free tenancies with no voids and an amazing agent? If the answer is yes, you may be hard to convince!

A shot of a father and two young sons walking down a path in residential area. The older boy is wearing his school uniform and riding on a push scooter. The younger boy is wearing casual clothing and is being carried by with father. 
The government press release contained pledges related to the private rented sector, though we need to wait for another white paper on renters reform to see the detail. 

However we know enough to applaud the commitment to reducing the number of homes in the PRS that fail the decent homes standard. 

The proportion of PRS homes that don’t meet the standard halved over the last decade and the government has pledged to halve it again by 2030. This is good news. The landlord sector has done a lot to improve standards but the promised crackdown on bad landlords is necessary.  

Nearly a quarter of properties in the PRS do not meet the decent homes standard. Households receiving benefits who have fewer housing options are most likely to live in sub-standard homes. 

London councillors and parliamentarians have been quick to point out that levelling up isn’t a north-south issue. There are 165,000 Londoners in temporary accommodation, which accounts for two-thirds of the total in England. These households, many with children, need levelling up too, say a London Councils and London MPs. 

Capital Letters was created by councils in London to find private rented properties so families could move out of temporary accommodation. Finding properties at local housing allowance rates remains challenging as the privately rented market becomes more buoyant. 

The latest government homelessness figures released last week showed that the private rented sector is now providing housing for proportionally more families at risk of homelessness.  

The PRS has grown steadily over recent times; we need it to play a larger role in offering homes to families who are either in temporary accommodation or at risk of homelessness.  

In 2019, social housing accounted for about 60% of discharges of main duty by councils in London with that number already starting to fall before the pandemic. By autumn last year, less than half (46%) of discharges were to social housing, while the use of the PRS nearly doubled to about 30% of discharges of main duty. 

To meet the government’s objective of improving standards in the PRS while reducing the alarming numbers of people in temporary accommodation, particularly in London, requires collaboration with private landlords, councils and the government.  

The recent National Audit Office report on private renting concluded that government must do more to support local authorities determined to improve standards in their area. The next white paper will need show how this can be done, including the expected national landlord register. 

In fact, Capital Letters only accepts properties that meet the higher quality and safety criteria demanded of our member councils. We work with landlords who provide good quality properties – so families have a safe and secure home to put down roots. There just needs to be more of them. 

If you’re a landlord, you can request a quote for the rent and incentive payment up to £4k payable on your property. 

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How tenancy support is reducing rent arrears for landlords

Mother and child walking towards a flat door

How tenancy support is reducing rent arrears for landlords

24th November 2021

Capital Letters deals with the benefits systems so you don’t have to, says Therisa Tidy, whose team has recovered over £700,000 this year 

 

Landlords letting their properties to families that receive benefits need to become experts in Universal Credit – or work with people who are. The benefits system is a regular payer once claims are set up but a change in circumstances can delay payments. 

We always advise landlords to be prepared for a delay in rent after a new tenant moves in while reassuring them that they will get paid. One east London landlord summed up the experience: 

“Normally payments start coming when they are due, but sometimes tenants cannot pursue their claims on their own. In this case, I asked Capital Letters to intervene so they could pursue this case professionally. Now the whole arrears have been cleared and I am very thankful to them for providing this service.” 

Some tenants may need help sorting out their claims. In a survey before the pandemic, 82% of landlords reported rent arrears after a new claim for Universal Credit or if the tenant had moved to Universal Credit (UC) from housing benefit. The number of people claiming UC has doubled during the pandemic and arrears in the private rented sector have increased, according to the latest government figures. 

But not every landlord signed up to become an expert in the benefits system! So what are their alternatives? 

Capital Letters works with landlords and two-thirds of the councils in London to find private rented properties so families can move out of temporary accommodation. Tenants sign an AST agreement with the landlord and Capital Letters pays a non-returnable cash incentive when the property is let.  

But the service doesn’t end there. Capital Letters has over 25 tenancy sustainment advisors who help tenants and landlords sort any problems throughout the tenancy. This year our team has secured a total of £773,000 in back-dated payments – most of which went straight to the landlord. Tenancy sustainment advisor Waheed recently secured nearly £10,000 for a landlord after arrears built up over six months.  

“The landlord called us because the tenant couldn’t deal with the stress of making the claim,” says Waheed. “Sometimes when the landlord comes knocking, the tenant doesn’t know how to answer.”

In fact, these long-running cases are unusual. Our team usually finds a solution before the landlord even knew the tenant needed help.

“Using our knowledge of the benefits system, we sort out claims so payment can start within weeks of the tenant moving in,” says Omolere, another advisor. “By responding quickly, we can usually prevent any arrears building up.”  

So what are the advantages of working with Capital Letters? Firstly, we make the process easy. We can help with claims for direct rent payments, which gives landlords peace of mind. Finally, as Omolere and Waheed explained, we make sure Universal Credit applications are set up correctly, minimising arrears. 

Therisa Tidy is a tenancy sustainment service manager. Let Capital Letters find your next tenant and receive cash payment. Please contact us on info@CapitalLetters.org.uk or 020 3906 7460.

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Capital Letters is making a difference to homelessness in London, finds independent review

Mother helping her two young daughters at the kitchen table as they eat

Capital Letters is making a difference to homelessness in London, finds independent review

11th November 2021

There is growing evidence that Capital Letters is making a positive impact on homelessness, according to an independent review by LSE London.

Capital Letters was set up in 2019 by a group of London councils to enable more families to access affordable homes in the private rented sector (PRS). The councils have pooled their property procurement capacity, and Capital Letters now has 21 members covering two-thirds of the boroughs in London. 

By August 2021, Capital Letters had offered over 7500 properties to London councils since its launch and the LSE report notes that the pace of procurement had increased significantly over the last six months.  

Two-thirds (67%) of families renting through Capital Letters were housed in-borough, compared to 41% for London as a whole, according to the latest Inter-Borough Accommodation Agreement figures. 

Capital Letters works with private landlords in London to find properties at local housing allowance (LHA) rates so families can move out of temporary accommodation or avoid homelessness. It also provides a tenancy sustainment service once the property is let to support both tenants and landlords to ensure the tenancy is successful. As a non-profit company, Capital Letters was set up to disrupt the private rental market and increase access to good quality PRS homes for families on benefits.  

“The potential for increasing the proportion of households who can be offered an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) in this way is clearly a major reason for Capital Letters’ existence. Its progress especially over the last six months suggests that the potential benefits are increasingly being realised,” conclude the LSE team, led by housing economics expert, Professor Christine Whitehead. 

The LSE report highlights a potential saving of £4,000 per property over two years compared to the costs of housing a family in temporary accommodation.  

“The more boroughs that become active members, the more value comes from the pan-London agreements on standardised incentive payments to landlords and on quality standards. In addition, a reduction in inter-borough competition strengthens Capital Letters’ capacity to negotiate, reduces costs and increases supply.” 

As well as finding properties for boroughs, Capital Letters also offers a tenancy sustainment service to both families and landlords, including help with benefit claims and maximising household income to improve affordability. By the end of August, the company has secured over £650,000 in benefits and grants for families since the start of 2021. 

Capital Letters evaluates the success of the tenancy sustainment service through two key measures: the income accessed on behalf of families, and the number of tenancies maintained.  

“The numbers of evictions are tiny in relation to the number of tenancies created, although there is a recognition that numbers may increase as the eviction pause is lifted over time,” says the report. “Positive feedback from landlords provides further justification for the team’s activities.” 

Of the 400 tenants housed through Capital Letters who are nearing the end of their two-year AST, so far only six were identified as at risk of eviction in the LSE report. 

Jackie Odunoye, Chair of the Capital Letters board, said: 

“Despite the impact of Covid on the private rented market in London, this review shows that Capital Letters is making a real positive difference to families at risk of homelessness with more able to find secure and settled homes.  

“We are determined to increase significantly the number of properties we offer our member councils and provide support to families and landlords to ensure the tenancy is a success.” 

Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing & Planning, said:  

“Capital Letters is a key part of the boroughs’ pan-London approach. Through working together, we are strengthening our market position and securing better housing options for homeless households. But we’re always determined to learn and adapt depending on what works best, and this report will certainly be useful for guiding the future development of Capital Letters and our joint efforts.” 

Laurence Coaker, head of housing needs at Brent Council and a member of the Capital Letters board, said:  

“The LSE report highlights that the jewel in the crown of Capital Letters is the tenancy sustainment service which supports both tenants and landlords – something that no other service provider does. This is key to persuading landlords to let to tenants on low incomes.” 

Mark Meehan, chief housing officer at Hammersmith and Fulham council and chair of the pan-London needs and homeless group, said: 

“Homelessness is predicted to get worse in London, particularly for families, as the impact of the Covid pandemic and the eviction pause is realised. Last year we showed what we can achieve when London councils work together and now this report evidences that our partnership led by Capital Letters has improved outcomes for homeless families.” 

Jeff Crudgington of Cot Estates, which has let over 60 properties through Capital Letters, said:  

“We work with Capital Letters whenever we can because it’s easier and we have access to tenants across London. We have developed our LHA-rate letting service because Capital Letters has made it possible and they are having a real impact on this part of the market.” 

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT HERE.  

Notes 

  • The London School of Economics established LSE London as a centre of research excellence on the economic and social issues of the London region, including housing, finance and governance. LSE London was commissioned to produce an independent evaluation of Capital Letters after its first 18 months of operation.  
  • Capital Letters was set up with support by London Councils to improve collaboration between boroughs and reduce competition for properties. The government funds Capital Letters as part of its commitment to reducing homelessness via the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. 
  • The following London boroughs are members of Capital Letters: Barking & Dagenham; Brent; Camden; Croydon; Ealing; Enfield; Hackney; Hammersmith & Fulham; Haringey; Harrow; Havering; Lewisham; Newham; Redbridge; Tower Hamlets; Waltham Forest and Westminster. Greenwich and Merton are the latest councils to join and are currently onboarding. Bexley and Southwark are full members but not currently active.  

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Is “No DSS” Still a sign of the times?

Mother with boxes around her kneeling down and handing her young son a jumper

Is “no DSS” still a sign of the times?

By Sue Coulson

Overt “DSS” discrimination may be on the decline but landlord reluctance to let properties to households on benefits is still with us. We still have significant barriers to overcome before the private rented sector opens up enough to make a real difference to homeless families.

Several councils in London are reviewing their homelessness strategies. Although action plans differ, there is a shared recognition that the private rented sector is part of the solution to the homelessness crisis. Harrow council recently noted that DSS discrimination “remains a concern”.

Councils rely on landlords willing to let their properties to tenants claiming benefits. Capital Letters staff talk to hundreds of landlords and agents in London every month, and we meet plenty of misconceptions. Occasionally there is outright prejudice.

It’s over a year since a York court heard a landmark case about landlord discrimination against people claiming benefits. This finally set a legal precedent following a lengthy campaign by Shelter and others to stamp out “no DSS” discrimination.

Twelve months after York, Oxford city council voted to stop “no DSS” practices such as preventing tenants on benefits viewing affordable properties.

The cross-party motion – reported as a first for a council in England – stated that “DSS discrimination is one obstacle among many for those on benefits accessing housing”.

In fact, the York claim was upheld under the Equality Act because the claimant was a disabled mother. A blanket no ‘DSS’ policy falls unequally on women and disabled people, who are both more likely to claim benefits.

However, the legal precedent was set. Landlords and agents must now consider prospective tenants individually, not as a category. Respectable agents have removed DSS references from their websites, but less visible discrimination persists.

Councils need good access to the private rented sector to find suitable homes for families to put down roots and settle in their communities. And when councils discharge their legal duty to homeless people, they can also reduce their costs.

These costs are predicted to spiral as a result of lifting the eviction ban and ending the furlough scheme. No wonder many councils are signalling their desire to work with a more professionalised landlord sector that can guarantee housing quality and decent treatment of tenants.

Capital Letters was set up by councils in London to push the business case for landlords letting to tenants on benefits and to drive up standards. Oxford city council’s action has reminded us that we also have a role in challenging prejudice against people who simply need a good quality affordable home.

Sue Coulson is the Chief Executive Officer of Capital Letters.

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Helping private renters avoid “housing stress” in London

Father and son on the floor in the living room playing with Lego blocks

Helping private renters avoid “housing stress” in London

13th July 2021

The stress of unaffordable housing for private renters in London is made very clear from the new English Housing Survey. How can we reduce that stress and find secure and settled homes for families?

Family playing at home

Private renters in London spend 42% of their household income on rent. The England average is 32%.

Spending over 30% of your income on rent is considered an important affordability threshold, according to the English Housing Survey report published by the government. The lower your income, the harder that percentage hits. Households with low incomes and proportionately high rents are at risk of “housing stress”.

The government statisticians use a 30/40 rule to show the impact of high rents on low-income households, including benefits. They look at the 40% of households in the lowest income brackets paying more than 30% of their income on rent. 

Now for the first time, the survey breaks this unaffordability measure down by region. Nationally a little over two-thirds (69%) of low earners pay more than 30% on rent. In London, it is pretty much every household – an alarming 93%.

Other results from the survey further highlight the challenges for renters on low incomes and claiming benefits. Nearly one in ten (9%) said they had been turned down for a property because they claim benefits.

Private renters who received housing benefits were more likely to have had arrears. They are also more like to be in non-decent or overcrowded homes.

The overall picture from the English Housing Survey is that the private rental sector is a vitally important tenure for families on low incomes and reducing homelessness. But we need to do more to avoid “housing stress” for private renters on low incomes in London, particularly those claiming benefits.

The market won’t do this on its own. That’s why Capital Letters was set up to work with councils in and responsible landlords in London to find good-quality accommodation for families at risk of homelessness, with thorough assessments to ensure the rent is affordable before they move in. 

And once they do move into their new home, we provide essential support for both families and landlords to reduce the risks of “housing stress” by helping with benefit claims and other problems that can derail a tenancy, avoiding the distress of repeat homelessness.

Find out how we work with landlords and councils in London to find secure and settled home for families here.

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Meet the new “accidental” landlords

Two high rise council flats with cars parked at their base

Meet the new “accidental” landlords

27th May 2021

There is a new type of accidental landlord – the ones who find themselves unexpectedly renting to tenants on benefits. Will the experience change their views of claimants?

Apartment blocks

This week, I went to the (virtual) National Landlord Investment Show on a mission to persuade landlords to rent to families on benefits following a great piece of research by Ligia Teixeira, PhD and the team at Centre for Homelessness Impact. Based on this, it’s clear they may need a lot of persuading!

 “While there is a supply of working tenants who will pay market rates, why on earth would you take tenants on benefits?” asks Richard Blanco, a landlord and London rep for the National Residential Landlord Association (NRLA).

He believes persuasion backed by cash incentives are essential. (Incidentally, Capital Letters can offer both).

Nonetheless, more landlords are now renting to tenants on benefits for the first time. Covid doubled the number of claimants in a year to 6 million and in London alone the number has more than doubled to over 1 million. Some are existing private renters, thus creating new accidental landlords of claimants.

We do not see the eviction ban having an immediate impact. Some landlords facing arrears will choose the devil-you-know option – a previously reliable tenant, now on a repayment plan.

I hope a few myths are dispelled in the minds of landlords who have a positive experience of tenants on benefits.

The benefits system itself may be the bigger deterrent. Bill Irvine of Universal Credit Advice says there’s a lot of uncertainty and landlords need to spend some time understanding the system. But those that do can let their properties confidently to tenants on benefits.

Accidental landlords who have found themselves part of the benefits system may find the risks are lower than they thought.

Could Covid have opened up the private rental market a little so more families at risk of homelessness can find a settled home?

Ligia Teixeira, PhDCentre for Homelessness ImpactBill IrvineRichard BlancoNational Residential Landlords Association – NRLANational Landlord Investment Show

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Nurturing networks to tackle homelessness

Image of Zoom call between former homeless person and the UK Minister for Homelessness

Nurturing networks to tackle homelessness

By Sue Coulson                                                                                                                                                   18th May 2021

I have been thinking a lot about the importance of networks in tackling homelessness. Resilience was the theme of an absorbing series of debates hosted by the Centre for Homelessness Impact this week.

 

The events certainly had an impact, not least because we heard from people with lived experience of homelessness.

Kirsty described in uncomfortable detail the reality of living with children in a women’s refuge, surrounded by the effects of trauma and poor mental health. We also heard powerful testimony from Jade, who became unexpectedly homeless after losing her job during the pandemic. She found her support network of friends was out of reach in lockdown.

“I would have used Google to find what services were available, but without a charged phone I didn’t know where to look,” she said, referring to that other kind of network that we all rely on.

Having shared her story, Jade got the chance to question the homelessness minister, Eddie Hughes MP. With remarkable poise, she challenged him to improve access for homeless young people with no experience of public services.

What we need, said the minister, drawing on his own experience of working at a YMCA, is intensive support and not one-off interventions. “Some people we are working with are having some real difficulties, and sometimes they demand and need our patience and understanding.”

Absolutely! I am so reassured to hear this from the minister. We know from our experience of working with private landlords in London is that families need ongoing support if the tenancy is going to be a success.

Our job is to ensure families can put down roots and have their support network around them, and their children can carry on going to school. Talking about resilience this week made me realise more than ever that tackling homelessness means so much more than finding a house. We need the partnerships, relationships and collaboration to enable people develop effective support networks while ensuring housing decisions do not damage the networks they already have so these houses become homes.

Just ask Jade or Kirsty

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Can we persuade more landlords to accept families on benefits?

Red and white T board letting sign sign saying 'To Let'

Can we persuade more landlords to accept families on benefits?

13th April 2021

Sadly it takes more than a nudge to persuade some private landlords to offer homes to families on benefits. To let sign

New research shows that tenants have little chance of finding a rental property on their own. When a council officer makes the approach, chances improve – but only if rent is guaranteed or upfront incentives paid.

These are the findings of an invaluable piece of attitudinal research carried out for @centre-for-homelessness-impact by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) – known as the ‘nudge unit’ for their work on influencing behaviour change.

Researchers tested various offers of support for landlords asked to accept tenants on universal credit (UC) using a large sample of National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) members.

“The scenarios we presented in our trials were designed either to be affordable at the LHA rate or to compensate landlords for renting at a below-market rent,” their report says. “This demonstrates that a tenant’s ability to afford rent is not the only barrier to overcome in encouraging landlords to rent to people who receive UC.”

Some local authorities provide budgeting advice and pre-tenancy training, while all landlords can apply for direct rent payments. But researchers found that highlighting these measures had no impact on the likelihood of landlords accepting tenants on UC.

At Capital Letters, we know from dealing with hundreds of landlords on behalf of councils across London that our experience matches the outcomes of this research: incentive payments are definitely needed, and ideally rent in advance. For many landlords, only cash upfront offsets the perceived risk of arrears. But often that isn’t enough.

The new research highlights a misunderstanding about homelessness at best, or at worst discrimination. We have testimonials from landlords and agents who have had a positive experience and valued our ability to show them the ropes of the benefits system in addition to our unique tenancy sustainment service for both tenants and landlords. But we also encounter plenty of ‘no DSS’ responses.

The BIT and NRLA research does offer some hope. Landlords who have already let to tenants on UC may be more likely to go ahead with a tenancy, suggesting experience could trump preconceptions. And telling landlords that claimants lost their job through Covid also got a better response than when no reason is given. So communication counts.

We need to explain the reasons for homelessness to create a more nuanced view of people claiming benefit. Some myth-busting at the first contact with landlords might help, along with the reassurance that the tenancy will be supported – as we do at Capital Letters – if things go wrong. We know private landlords are persuadable.

But this research shows that without people to act on their behalf, the private rental market is closed for many people at risk of homelessness. That is not right, and thanks to Ligia Teixeira and her team at CHI we know a lot more about how we can persuade more landlords to offer a secure and settled home for families.

https://www.homelessnessimpact.org/post/landlords-trials-2021

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