Almost one in ten private landlords with Universal Credit claimants have experienced at least one tenant running into difficulties paying their rent due to the benefit cut, according to the National Residential Landlords Association.
The landlord’s body says these cases follow the £20 a week cut to the benefit imposed by the government in October, following a temporary increase in response to the pandemic.
A poll conducted for the association found 9% of landlords, who were either currently letting to a Universal Credit claimant, or who had done so last year, said they had dealt with at least one tenant who had run into difficulties as a result of the cut.
Around 1.4 million households in the private rented sector in England and Wales receive Universal Credit with housing cost support, known as local housing allowance, included in the payment, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.
And 55% of these renters have found a gap between the support they received and their rent payments, according to official data.
The NRLA warns this shortfall will only become worse as a result of the government’s decision last year to freeze in cash terms housing cost support.
The association is calling on the government to reverse its decision to freeze the local housing allowance rate and ensure it reflects market rents.
National Residential Landlords Association chief executive Ben Beadle says: “Benefit payments are failing to give tenants or landlords confidence that they will be able to cover rents. This basic problem lies at the heart of a broken system in desperate need of reform.
“With households facing a cost-of-living squeeze, it is vital that the benefits system gives the protection that tenants deserve. That is why the chancellor needs to end the housing benefit freeze as a matter of urgency. Without this many tenants and landlords face an uncertain future about how to keep tenancies going.”
The NRLA poll was conducted by YouGov, which interviewed 1,013 private landlords across England and Wales between 9 and 14 December last year.