Currently viewing the tag: "welfare"
Will The Housing Crisis Win The Election?

Will The Housing Crisis Win The Election?

The Politics Of Housing

It is still generally acknowledged by all political parties that there is a housing shortage in the UK, and each political party wants to offer the public alternative methods of tackling the problem in an attempt to win electoral favour.

Most political parties see the housing crisis in the UK as a possible election winning issue and each party’s election manifesto promises the general public many things, including further private rented sector (PRS) reforms and the introduction of additional legislation. There isn’t much offered by any political party for landlords, except for the promise to put an end to the private rental sector.

A recent survey by Ipsos MORI research published in January 2015 discovered a confusing conundrum, in that:

  • 75% of the public agree that there is a housing crisis in the UK
  • 48% of the public disagree there is a housing crisis in their locality

The publication of each political party’s election manifesto is intended to give the public a clearer indication of the housing priorities of the UK’s next parliament.

However, despite claims of a housing shortage nationally there are still some UK regions that have large proportions of derelict and abandoned properties, many still in a habitable condition.

Continue reading »

 

Welfare Reforms Could Increase Fraud

Welfare Reforms Could Increase Fraud

The Government’s controversial welfare reforms will leave the benefits system more vulnerable to fraud, according to a group of MPs.

The Government decision to press on with welfare reforms means that Universal credit is set to be implemented nationally from October 2013 and replaces a string of existing benefits such as local housing allowance (LHA), housing benefit (HB) and child tax credits.

Changes to IT system for universal credit could make it harder to distinguish fraudulent claims from those that are genuine, and there are calls for the government to give swift assurance that the introduction of Universal Credit will not cause a rise in benefit fraud,

MPs issued the warning after a report by the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee into the extent of the welfare reforms highlighted several concerns about the new Universal Credit scheme.

The first trial of the new system begins on 29 April 2013 in Ashton-Under-Lyne, Greater Manchester.

Continue reading »

UK PRS Landlords still avoiding housing benefit tenants

1/3 of Private Rental Sector Landlords Avoiding Tenants Claiming Benefits

A new Government report has revealed a growing concern about UK landlords, as an increasing percentage are now refusing to accept applications from tenants claiming housing benefits.

The situation regarding LHA tenants is set to get much worse, following the recent statements made by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and his party’s vision for further welfare reform. Read full story

The Government commissioned report was compiled by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University revealed that over one third of the 1867 landlords who agreed to take part, are already actively refraining from accepting LHA tenants or are considering avoiding benefit tenants in the future.

This change in UK landlord’s perspectives has developed since the government capped housing benefit payments in April 2011, meaning that many LHA claimants are no longer able to claim the entire rental amount from the local authority.

33% of the UK landlords surveyed admitted having severe reservations concerning the reliability of payments from LHA tenants, and as a result they were either planning to or considering no longer accepting benefit claimants as tenants.

29% of landlords had already gone through the process of tenant eviction with LHA tenants or had refused to renew the tenancies of benefit claimants when they came to an end.

36% also admitted that they were experiencing increased rental arrears from LHA tenants because of the changes to benefit payment levels made last year.

Landlords can safely and legally recover rent arrears/debts from all types of tenants, including absconded tenants by using Legal 4 Landlords professional services

Welfare Reform Minister, Lord Freud, didn’t see the results of the Government commissioned report as worrying, stating that: “The research gives us an early insight into what is really happening, and it shows that the many scare stories about the effects of housing benefit reform are simply not materialising.”

If that were true, why are an increasing number of UK landlords wrongly avoiding accepting LHA tenants?
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get regualr direct payments from any Local authority – Get “The Landlords Essential LHA Handbook” by John Paul – The LHA Expert

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has a new vision of the welfare state. He wants state benefits to be a safety net – and nothing more!,

The Prime Minister outlined future radical changes which on top of existing plans, could save the UK an extra £10 Billion (GBP) by 2016.

Government ministers expect this “next wave” of benefit cuts to include the axing of all housing benefit currently paid to around 380,000 people aged under 25.

Such a move would force many young adults to move back in with their parents rather than living independently.

Another controversial reform which could come in further down the line is setting benefit payments regionally – which would mean less money going to claimants who live in less-expensive parts of the country.

Some Tory MPs say the current system is unfair – with differing “incentives” on people to seek work depending on where they live. Liberal Democrats, however, would be likely to oppose any such changes.

The Prime Minister said his overall aim in reforming welfare was to stop people “languishing on the dole and dependency”.

Here are some of the welfare reforms Mr Cameron is considering

• Stopping most under-25s claiming housing benefit. Cameron said the government was spending almost £2bn a year on housing benefit for this group, and that 210,000 people aged 16 to 24 were social housing tenants. Many of them could live with their parents, he suggested.

• Scrapping the non-dependent deduction. Cameron said people could lose up to £74 a week in housing benefit if they have an adult child living with them. That “doesn’t seem right”, he said.

• Cutting benefits for the under-21s. Cameron said that in Holland the benefit system does not normally help the under-21s. When it does, benefits are set at a low level, and parents are expected to top them up.

• Ending subsidised social housing for the wealthy. Cameron said that between 12,000 and 34,000 families on more than £60,000 a year, and between 1,000 and 6,000 families on more than £100,000 a year, were living in council homes. “When you have people on £70,000 a year living for £90 or so a week in London’s most expensive postcodes you have to ask whether this is the best use of public resources,” he said.

• Uprating benefits in line with wage inflation instead of price inflation when price inflation is much higher. Cameron said in September benefits went up by 5.2% (inflation) even though workers were getting much lower pay rises. “Given that so many working people are struggling to make ends meet we have to ask whether this is the right approach,” Cameron said.

• Cutting benefits for the long-term unemployed. Cameron said that when the Americans decided to time-limit benefits in the 1990s, case-loads fell by more than 50%. “Instead of US-style time-limits – which remove entitlements altogether – we could perhaps revise the levels of benefits people receive if they are out of work for literally years on end,” he said.

• Cutting housing benefit further.
The government has already introduced a benefit cap to stop a relatively small number of families claiming exorbitant sums in housing benefit. But Cameron said this would still allow people to receive up to £20,000 a year in housing benefit. “Surely we should ask if it’s fair that the maximum amount that you can get on housing benefit is set at a level that only the top five per cent of earners would otherwise be able to afford,” he said.

• Stopping people from claiming child-related benefits if they have more than a certain number of children. Cameron did not say how many children, but he quoted the number of people on income support with three or more children (150,000) and four or more children (57,000), implying benefits could be capped at two children.

• Requiring people on out-of-work benefits to gain basic literacy and numeracy skills.

• Requiring people on out-of-work benefits to prepare a CV.

• Requiring able people on out-of-work benefits to do full-time community work after a certain period. In Australia this was standard after just six months, Cameron said.

• Requiring people on sickness benefits to improve their health. “Today if someone is signed off work with a bad back there’s no requirement to take steps to get well to keep on receiving that benefit – even if they could be getting free physiotherapy to get back to health and start working again,” Cameron said.

• Requiring more single parents to work – or at least to prepare for work. Cameron said the government was already forcing single parents to look for work when their youngest child reaches five, not seven as before. But, with free nursery care available from the age of three, there was a case for changing the rules again, he said. “Even if there’s no scope for actually working, there should at least be for preparing to work: getting down to the job centre; writing a CV; learning new skills.”

• Imposing tougher restrictions on people claiming benefits if they have never worked than if they have paid tax and national insurance for years before submitting a claim.

• Stopping teenagers from claiming benefits as soon as they leave school. Cameron said he wanted to ask “if it’s right that people continue to have the option of leaving school and going straight onto benefits, without ever having contributed to the system in any way.”

• Stopping paying winter fuel payments and other non-contributory benefits to people who live abroad.

• Stopping paying some benefits in cash and paying them instead in benefits in kind, like free school meals.

UK Private Rented Sector Survey by MyPropertyPowerTeam.co.uk

UK Buy To Let Landlords Want More Properties But Are Unable To Get Mortgage Finance

A new survey of Landlords in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has discovered that only 20.2% ( 1 in 5 landlords) in the UK, were able to add fresh residential properties to their existing residential portfolio stock during 2011.

Property value growth expectations and the prospect of a regular income were the key drivers behind the property investment trend and only the lack of available mortgage finance, and/or financial know how, held back even more landlords from adding to their property portfolios.

Out of all the landlord insurance customers interviewed, 85% predicted that residential property values in the UK would remain the same for at least the next 12 months and private sector residential rents were expected to be considerably higher in 2013.

London led the way, after 87% of respondents said they believed that rents in the UK capital would continue to rise throughout 2012.

The data is from the PRS Landlord Survey carried out among subscribers by MyPropertyPowerTeam.co.uk during the last quarter (Q4) of 2011.

The data also showed that 59% of landlords have been investing for more than 5 years would hold onto their property until around the year 2025, however, the average holding period for UK PRS properties was around 15 years.

The appetite from property investors in the UK PRS for additional property assets is still extremely strong and the UK rental market is seeing demand outstrip supply as private tenants seek quality PRS accommodation. The current rental trend shows little sign of abating at present, despite all the UK Governments welfare reforms.

The UK Private Rented Sector is currently buoyed up by a growing population that is spending longer periods than ever living in rented homes, similar to the continental norm.

Landlords are making use of insurance products to protect their property assets and even Rent Guarantee insurance to ensure regular monthly rental income.

Tagged with:
 

Government Welfare Reforms Stumble

Government Welfare Reforms Stumble

The UK Coalition Government plans to cap benefits will still be fully implemented despite the parliamentary defeat in the House of Lords on Monday this week.
A defeat that saw 26 Lib-Dem peers rebel against the Government’s wishes.

Although, the Government have admitted that whilst disappointed by the result, they still intend to push through the plans for welfare reform in full.

The plans have caused deep unease in the Lords and prompted a number of Church of England bishops to launch a bid for the reforms to be curbed, backed by a majority of 15.

Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Right Reverend John Packer introduced the amendment and following its success, said: “It cannot be right for the cap to be the same for a childless couple as for a couple with children. Child benefit is the most appropriate way to right this unfairness.”

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith led the Government’s call for all benefit payments limited to a maximum £26,000 a year per household, claiming that it will save approximately £600 Million (GBP) towards the UK’s multi Billion pound economic deficit.

Lord Paddy Ashdown joined 25 other Lib Dem peers voting for child benefit to be excluded from the cap calculations. The former party leader, previously a loyal supporter of the Government, said that as president of the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF, he was not prepared to back the Government’s plans in their current form, denouncing them as “completely unacceptable”.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has stated that he fully supports the Governments changes to the welfare benefit system, despite the rebellious divisions from within the Lib-Dem ranks.

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesman said: “There has to be a limit on the amount of money benefit claimants can receive. We think that limit is set at a fair rate of £26k – the equivalent to someone earning £35,000 before tax, a salary that many working families would be happy to receive.”

Around 67,000 families will lose £83 a week under the cap, which is due to be brought in from 2013 in England, Scotland and Wales.

It is expected that the welfare reforms will result in many families currently claiming housing benefit facing mounting financial pressures and even eviction from their homes, if they are unable to pay the rent.

If UK landlords do find themselves in the unenviable position of chasing bad debts or rent recovery, or if the worst happens, having to evict defaulting tenants then they should use the services of a reputable eviction specialist such as Legal 4 Landlords, to save effort, money, time and stress.

Tagged with:
 
UK Government to argue the case for Welfare Reform in the House of Lords

Government to argue the case for Welfare Reform in the House of Lords

The coalition Government face another battle over welfare reforms, this time in the House of Lords.
The outcome will affect individuals and families in receipt of local housing allowance (LHA) or housing benefit, who are in private rented sector (PRS) properties.

The Welfare Reform Bill, currently going through the House of Lords, is set to cap total benefits for working age households at £26,000 a year.

The total payment would include the present Local Housing Allowance, paid to housing benefit tenants in private rented sector accommodation.

However, a number of peers fear this would disproportionately hit larger families with children in temporary and private rented sector housing.

The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Right Reverend John Richard Packer, has tabled an amendment which would exclude child benefit for the purposes of the benefit cap.

Lord Richard Best who is also supporting the amendment said: “I don’t think it’s conceivable for families with children to be evicted and become destitute because a benefit cap means there’s nowhere they can afford to live.”

The amendment is expected to go before the Lords next week (January 23rd 2012), and is likely to gain support from many areas, including Liberal Democrat peers who have previously rebelled against the Government.

The UK government’s welfare reforms are bad news for both tenants and landlords. Struggling tenants already face mounting debts and real financial problems including the threat of eviction if they are unable to keep up with the rental payments and slip to more than 8 weeks in arrears.

This results in a double blow for landlords, not only do landlords have to suffer loss of income because the tenants have not paid the rent but also the further expense of court action to have the tenants evicted.

Tenant Evictions can be cost effectively handled by Legal 4 Landlords, who are the UK’s fastest growing eviction specialists who also offer a wide range of additional services for landlords including Rent Guarantee Insurance

No DSS for UK landlords

Landlords Don't Want Benefit Tenants

UK landlords have little confidence in the current Housing Benefit system and the majority would try to avoid accepting tenants in receipt of benefits due to the extra hassle and headaches that dealing with local authorities and local government departments cause.

Landlords claim that tenants who do not receive any form of welfare support are far more reliable when it comes to paying the rent on time and generally looking after the property.

The findings of a survey of over 1,000 UK landlords by flat and house share website Spareroom discovered that:

• 86% of Buy-To-Let landlords surveyed were against the welfare reform of the UK benefit system which since 2008 has automatically paid Local Housing Allowance (LHA) directly to the tenant, except under exceptional circumstances.
• 87% of UK landlords who accept tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit have had problems with the rent not being paid on time.
• 59% of landlords questioned state No DSS when advertising property to let

UK landlords were also asked why they would refuse DSS tenants,

• 11% of landlords have had benefit tenants who have stopped paying the rent.
• 30% believe working tenants are more reliable
• 47% did not want payment problems
(including late payments, no payment at all, issues arising from the suspension of benefit payments and/or damage to the property).
• 34% of landlords currently have LHA tenants in one or more properties
• 45% have previously taken in LHA tenants.
• 58% had previously experienced multiple problems with benefit tenants.
• 74% would refuse LHA tenants even if the tenant had a working, homeowner as a guarantor.

Director of Spareroom, Matt Hutchinson, said: “It’s clear from this survey that a shake-up of the current system of paying housing benefit to the tenant is desperately needed, and reverting back to the old structure, where landlords could receive rental payments directly from the council would be a step in the right direction.”

Legal 4 Landlords spokesman Sim Sekhon agreed; “The current LHA benefit system requires an overhaul as it causes many financial problems for landlords. Unless the tenants are in arrears and the local authority has agreed to make direct payments, the landlord has no guarantee of receiving the full rental payment from the tenant every month, unless they have Rent Guarantee Insurance.

59% of Private Rental Sector (PRS) landlords refuse to accept applications from tenants claiming benefits, including me!

Landlords claim that tenants who do not receive any form of welfare support are far more reliable when it comes to paying the rent on time and generally looking after the property.

In a survey of more than 1,000 UK landlords by website SpareRoom.co.uk showed that over half of the landlords surveyed had a  “No DSS” clause on their adverts. I too have the same clause and whilst I do not want to discriminate against people I do feel it is necessary to protect my rental income and my properties.

Landlords taking part in the survey were asked why they would not rent out their property to housing benefit tenants:

  • 30% said non-benefit tenants were more reliable,
  • 47% said they did not want the hassle of dealing with payment problems.

SpareRoom.co.uk called for changes to the way Local Housing Allowance (LHA) was paid, joining calls from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and homeless charities “Shelter” and “Crisis” to return to direct payments to landlords, which could increase the number of PRS properties being let to tenants claiming state benefits.

Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom.co.uk, said: “The coalition government’s planned welfare cuts to housing benefits, coupled with the lack of affordable housing in the UK, could have a devastating impact on families and individuals relying on the state for help with living costs. But it seems that landlords, who have had bad experiences with housing benefit tenants, are reluctant to help ease the pressure caused by a rental property shortfall, favouring private tenants instead. The move to change the way Local Housing Allowance was paid in 2008 was designed to give those on housing benefits greater responsibility for their finances, but what this poll shows is that the change has had overwhelmingly negative repercussions for British landlords. It’s clear from this survey that a shake-up of the current system of paying housing benefit to the tenant is desperately needed, and reverting back to the old structure, where landlords receive rental payments directly from the council would be a step in the right direction.’

According to the survey, 87% of landlords have had problems with housing benefit tenants not paying rent on time and 11% claimed to have had tenants who had stopped paying rent altogether. I unfortunately fall into both these percentages having bad experiences with benefit tenants and very little help or advice from my local authority.

In the survey, UK landlords said that problems associated with DSS tenants included late rent payments, damage to the property and problems arising from suspension of benefits.

74% of landlords said they would not take a tenant on housing benefit even with a working Homeowner acting as their guarantor and I must agree with them.

Once bitten and all that, but one thing is for sure from my point of view – NEVER AGAIN!!!

Tagged with:
 

Lord Freud, the minister in charge of reforming the UK welfare system has scorned hopes that social tenants could be offered the choice of paying their housing benefit direct to their landlord.

Speaking at a Conservative Party conference fringe event in Manchester, welfare reform minister Lord Freud pledged to examine whether the £500 per week benefit cap could be raised for the 50,000 families who will be most severely affected.

A survey by the National Housing Federation found that 9 out of 10 tenants on benefits would prefer their housing allowance to be paid direct to their landlord, rather than receive it themselves as planned.

The NHF has joined the Residential Landlords Association campaigning for tenants to be allowed the choice of their benefit to be paid direct to their landlord.

Responding to this, Lord Freud said “The introduction of the universal credit system was intended to prepare people for managing their finances when in a job and that direct payment of housing benefit forms a key part of this. I am slightly cynical around this argument. There currently is a choice for tenants, but not a real choice due to the imbalance of power in favour of landlords. This reform is not about rolling this around to the convenience of the big battalions.”

Lord Freud also faced a call from influential think tank The Centre for Social Justice, (CSJ), to increase the proposed £500 a week benefit cap for the 50,000 families who will be worst affected.

Gavin Poole, Executive Director at CSJ, said: ‘There is a significant risk of 50,000 families being very badly affected by the £26,000 a year benefit cap. I don’t want to ask for a wholesale raising of the cap, but those households who are genuine families with two adults and children should be looked at again. We’ve done some calculations and reckon the cap at present for these families is £3,400 light.”

Lord Freud said: ‘We are looking at the cap pretty hard and there will be transitional arrangements. We are looking at a range of issues here, including those people who are most vulnerable.’

The minister also admitted he was worried about the IT requirements involved in the implementation of the introduction of the universal credit, but said that he wanted to ensure that demonstration projects on housing benefit changes were not tame little projects and would really test the reforms.

Tagged with:
 

There Will Never Be A Better Time To Invest In Property

MyPropertyPowerTeam.co.uk helps property investors and landlords build their own property power team to enable them to profit from property - Visit our main site now!