Campaigners step up lobbying over housing benefit payments

3 10 2011

An influential group of 15 organisations across the Uk has called on work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, to allow tenants to choose to have their benefits paid to Landlords.

Their joint letter to Duncan Smith asks for tenants to have a say over whether the housing element of the new universal credit can be paid to Landlords.

The Welfare Reform Bill says that the payment would automatically go to tenants, in the same way the Local Housing Allowance is now paid to housing benefit tenants in the private sector. An amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill is due to be debated next month.

The letter says “In a recent survey carried out by the research consultancy Policis, working with the National Housing Federation, 93% of tenants in the social rented sector argued that it is better for housing benefit to be paid direct to Landlords. In 2009, Shelter revealed that of those claimants who would choose payments to be made directly to their Landlord, 95% were struggling to manage their finances.

“By denying tenants the opportunity to opt for payments to be made to their Landlord, the government is failing to provide them with options to be able to make informed decisions about what is best for their own circumstances. This is not compatible with the Government’s objectives of personal responsibility and choice.”

Signatories to the letter include the Residential Landlords Association, National Landlords Association, Council of Mortgage Lenders, British Property Federation, Citizens Advice, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and Northern Ireland Federation O Housing Associations.

 

Our experience upon this matter at Belvoir Stoke, backs the campaigners, as the majority of our tenants on Housing Benefit would prefer that it be paid direct so that they do not have the responsibility of forwarding their rent payment onto us.

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