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Landlords face delays from tenants on benefits

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More than half of tenants say they have received late payment from their local council, often causing late payment to their landlords.

Research from the National Landlords Association found that 52% of private sector tenants on housing benefit had received delayed payment from their council.

This would represent around 3.3 million tenants across the UK.

In more than a third of cases (36%), tenants said these delays had caused them financial issues or prevented them from paying their rent on time.

Recent research published by Shelter suggested 80% of working households in England which claim housing benefit will face a shortfall due to government changes.

At present some 73% of tenants receive payment from the council and then pay their landlord. In the remaining 27% of cases this benefit is paid directly by the council.

Richard Lambert, chief executive officer at the National Landlords Association, said both landlords and tenants were at risk.

“Local councils are failing to support a growing number of tenants who are most in need of a home and the proportion of landlords willing to let to tenants in receipt of benefits has halved over the last few years. Their perception is that the risk is too great, and it’s easy to see why if payment delays appear to be inherent within the benefits system,” he said.

“The pressure on those private landlords who have remained in this part of the market will be seriously increased by the government’s benefits freeze and the devastating changes to mortgage interest relief announced by the Chancellor in July’s Budget.

“Ultimately, the people who suffer will be those who have almost no option other than the private rented sector for a home and yet find that they are unable to rely on their local council for the support to which they are entitled.”

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