200 Housing benefits tenants are served section 21 notice by Kent Landlord

200 Housing benefits tenants are served section 21 notice by Kent Landlord

13:27 PM, 9th January 2014, About 10 years ago 50

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Kent based Landlord Mr Fergus Wilson reported to the press that he has served section 21 notices to more than 200 tenants on housing benefits asking them to leave after six months.

Mr Wilson has a portfolio of over 1000 properties and has decided not to rent in the future to tenants claiming housing benefit preferring instead tenants from Eastern Europe who he says are more likely to pay their rent on time.

Mr Wilson said, “this decision is only down to money it has nothing to do with the personalities involved.

“When it comes to money over half of people on benefits were defaulting on their rent, and when it comes to people who are working, we’ve not had one single person default on one single penny. You can appreciate why. Rents are going up in line with the price of houses and housing benefit levels are dropping at the same time.

“Tenants from eastern Europe, places like Poland, have been here a number of years now and have built up a good enough credit rating to rent privately. We won’t see the impact of more recent migration for years to come, but people on benefits are having to compete with them.

“My message to people is get yourself a job, and you will get yourself a house.”

Mr Wilson also added “The problem is that you have a finite number of houses, but more people wanting to rent them than places are available. With that pressure, what tends to give is the poorest people at the bottom of the economic pile.

“We are going to be in a position in the next 20 years where it becomes more and more difficult for people to find housing, and no one seems to have an answer. You tell people in a place like Ashford that they need more housing and they’re likely to lynch you they are sick of being built on, but it’s a fact.”

The NLA has also released a statement regarding this story in the press:

Chief Executive Officer, Richard Lambert said, “our current research shows we’re seeing more and more landlords moving away from renting to tenants claiming benefits.

“It was widely assumed that rent rises were fueled by housing benefit, and that if benefit rates were reduced, rents would fall back to meet them. That’s been shown to be a completely false assumption. There are many wider factors affecting rent levels, principally the availability of properties and the number of people looking to rent.

“As the Welfare Reform agenda has progressed over the past three years, benefit levels haven’t kept up with rents, meaning it’s a greater risk for landlords renting to tenants who rely on benefits, which is why they are looking more and more to working tenants who don’t tend to fall into arrears that easily. The fact is that there are many more working tenants looking to rent because it is still so difficult for first-time buyers to get onto the housing ladder. “However, we know of many landlords who have rented to housing benefit tenants on for many years and have never had a problem, so our advice would be to always look at every tenant on an individual basis.

“Being a landlord is a business and there are landlords who specialise in letting in the housing benefit market. They tend to be the more experienced landlords with larger portfolios, who understand how to manage tenancies to ensure stability and minimise the risk of arrears.”

The following interview with Fergus Wilson appears courtesy of Property Tribes

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Tony Sheldon

18:59 PM, 18th January 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Nock" at "18/01/2014 - 18:26":

Hi Gary, as it happens, lettingsupermarket.com work with over 60 local agents, all fully trained professional inventory clerks, around the country. We offer a full "High Street" service with dramatically reduced charges as we centralize our office functions and utilise the internet to deliver documents which are digitally signed. Everything a local agent can do, we can do, which is why we are so unique.

Fed Up Landlord

8:54 AM, 19th January 2014, About 10 years ago

Hi Tony thats good to know. When I decide to put my feet up and retire somewhere warm (which may not be too long I hope) then I will certainly consider putting my portfolio out to yourselves while I sip a Pina Colada

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

10:51 AM, 19th January 2014, About 10 years ago

Why not try a few now Gary, check it out by dipping your toe in. Many landlords have done this and are now going all in as they've realised their time is worth far more to them. We were so impressed we acquired a significant shareholding in the business very early on. We are so glad we did, the feedback has been tremendous and the business is really beginning to fly 🙂

Fed Up Landlord

11:38 AM, 19th January 2014, About 10 years ago

Well Mark I have a couple of apartments up in Grantham which I have been letting throughout the local Belvoir office due to distance from The Midlands. When one of these comes up I will give Tony a ring and give it a go. I am paying about 50 quid a month in management fees at the moment x 2 plus paying for my rent insurance so I could save a bit there. I assume that Lettings Supermarket can sort it out from start to finish including viewings, referencing, book in, book out and ongoing maintainence issues?

Tony Sheldon

12:24 PM, 19th January 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Nock" at "19/01/2014 - 11:38":

Hi Gary, we can do that. I've taken one in Grantham this week.

Robert M

19:17 PM, 22nd January 2014, About 10 years ago

The discussion seems to have gone off topic a little, so getting back to LHA tenants........
Most of my LHA tenants are unable to provide a rent guarantor (or one that would qualify for RGI) and yes I've suffered from some bad tenants, but I also have lots of very good LHA tenants. Yes, some do seem to have big TVs and iphones, but some are genuinely struggling to make ends meet and don't have these luxuries. I try to judge people on their own merits, not tar everyone with the same brush or go by stereotypes. Being reliant on benefits can happen to anyone, it is only one accident or redundancy away, and relying on benefits does not make you a bad person.

I agree that letting to LHA tenants is much higher risk, so perhaps landlords who do let to these tenants should be paid a premium 🙂 but I guess that won't happen.
I try to get rent guarantors where possible to reduce my risk, but I also use my common sense and (hopefully good judgment) to make decisions about whether to let to a particular LHA tenant.

As for insurance, landlords cannot get Rent Guarantee Insurance, (or many other types of insurance) for their LHA tenants, so we have to carry the burden of the risk and ensure we manage the tenancies well. Can Tony provide RGI for LHA tenants with no rent guarantor, I suspect not.

Tony Sheldon

19:29 PM, 22nd January 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "22/01/2014 - 19:17":

Hi Mr Mellors

Lettingsupermarket.com offer a Rent Guarantee insurance for DSS tenants, often without guarantor. Finally, the insurance companies are waking up to the fact that income is income whether it comes from a job or the state. Obviously the applicants have to prove their income but provided there is no bad credit and the figures stack up, we can offer a package to suit.

What do i do?

14:22 PM, 6th February 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jamie Moodie" at "09/01/2014 - 14:08":

I lost my job due to a health issues and have been on ESA for a while whist I get back on my feet. I'm "classed" as dss and NOT ONCE has my rent been late or not paid, I don't smoke or drink and don't have the latest of everything!. But the one thing I do my all for is to make sure i keep the roof over my head. I've gone without food and electric (meter) to make sure my rents paid. I don't get full help with my rent and most of my jobcenter benefits tops my rent off, not everyone on dss has it easy or tries to abuse the system. To put everyone in the same boat is ignorant! I'm trying to move as the flat I'm in is damp with mouldy and the old windows are falling out and the landlord won't fix anything, I'm stuck because people look down their nose at me. I'm not lazy i want to get back on my feet. not all of people on dss are the same!!!!

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

14:38 PM, 6th February 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michelle Elaine" at "06/02/2014 - 14:22":

Hi Michelle

Not all landlords are the same either, you might find this website of use >>> http://www.dssmove.co.uk/

Thank you for adding perspective to this discussion and I wish you all the best in your search for a better home 🙂

What do i do?

21:06 PM, 6th February 2014, About 10 years ago

Hi Mark, thank you I will have a look.

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