Just one in five landlords are willing to let to tenants receiving housing benefit or universal credit, research from the National Landlords Association has found
The NLA said landlords are shying away from those tenants for three reasons.
These are the time and effort it takes to secure direct payment of the housing element of university credit, the six week waiting period causing tenants to be two-months in rent arrears by the time of the first payment, and the difficulty of communicating and interacting with the universal credit administration system.
Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NLA, said: “Underlying all the problems with universal credit is the freeze on housing benefit rates, which means that the housing element of universal credit is simply insufficient for many tenants to be able to cover their rent.
“The decline in social housing means that some of the most vulnerable in society can only turn to the private rented sector. We have long called for the freeze to be scrapped as it creates a barrier that prevents claimants from securing the housing they need.
“If the government is serious about helping then it needs to press pause on the roll out of universal credit, and fix its underlying problems.
“Otherwise more and more people will find themselves homeless as the proportion of landlords who consider themselves able to house those who need it most will keep on falling.”