With January getting closer, the introduction of housing benefit cuts affecting tenants in the private sector is beginning to look ominous. The cuts, if enforced could lead to a mass exodus of tenants and an influx of housing benefit claimants searching in vain for private rented properties nearby owned by landlords willing to accept a reduction on market rents.
Both parties partaking in the political equation both have completely different takes of the situation and both in each extreme. Is there going to be mass homelessness?; Are we going to see families evicted from their home?; Are we going to see peoples belongings flung on the street?
On the other hand – are we going to see a social apartheid establish itself throughout various areas and regions? Are low-income households going to be worse off? Are the poorer families going to get poorer and fall further below the poverty breadline? Will this effect health and mortality rates? And more importantly, does anyone care or are they more concerned about scoring points against the opposition?
Eviction Consequence – Landlords are damned if they do or damned if they don’t
It seems unfair that the fate and responsibility of tenant security should rest at the private landlords door when they have no input into the government decision that puts it there. It is unlikely that such decision is made in any other industry that will undermine the growth of such a much-needed sector amid a nation’s housing crisis. No doubt, shouts of ‘greedy landlords’ will be hailed, while the same accusers remain unaware that buy-to-let mortgage payments need to be met by landlords, and in effect is like any other business, based on return on investment.
From various surveys and studies carried out there only seems to be roughly 50% of private landlords willing to reduce rent for people on housing benefit, give or take 5%. The governments bargaining chip of direct payments to landlords for rent reduction has not so far appeared to have the desired result I suspect they desired. The influx of tenants created from potential first-time buyers thwarted through restricted mortgages has increased rents and offers landlords an array of working tenants willing to pay the full market value of properties. Could the government have gotten it so wrong? And would any other private sector industry be held to ransom in such a manner, and again if they did not have to, would they comply?