The terrible position councils put benefit renters in

The terrible position councils put benefit renters in

9:56 AM, 11th January 2019, About 5 years ago 23

Text Size

There is an article in I News yesterday titled “This single mother works full-time, but still needs housing benefit – so landlords refuse to rent to her”: click here to view.

The story is obviously about how difficult it was for a working mum to find a new home to rent after she was served a section 21 notice from her existing landlord.

However, the real juxtaposition to why benefits tenants have difficulty in finding landlords willing to take them on is shown in the advice it was reported the council gave the tenant before she moved out of her existing home:

“They told me to stay put. That if I moved out of the flat I was in it would be seen as me making myself voluntarily homeless and I wouldn’t be entitled to council housing. I explained that I had an eviction notice, but they said to wait until the landlord called the baliffs in. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”

The tenant, Limarra, subsequently ignored warning notices and contined to look for a new rental home without success or help from the council. This stress ended up seriously affecting her health. The council did later offer temporary accomodation only after the landlord obtained a possession order.

Limarra said: “They’d told me they would be able to find me temporary accommodation but the only two places available were a flat in Essex and another in Croydon, Surrey. If I didn’t accept one I would be taken off the housing list and be out on the street, so I said yes to the one in Croydon. There was no way I could travel from Essex to work each day and Nevaeh wouldn’t have been able to get to school.”

Limarra had to accept the property which had a cooker next to the bed and her daughter had to live with her grandmother.

Surely it must be obvious that Local Authorities refusal in most cases to work with landlords and often against them is a major factor in the difficulties and stress faced by benefit tenants?

Also see our recent readers question “Terrible time with council tenant and shock at how law treats landlords” Click Here

Share This Article


Fen Jen

10:54 AM, 11th January 2019, About 5 years ago

Cllr Ryan needs to realise that it is the benefit system that is the issue not the private landlords. If we could be sure that the housing benefit would be enough to cover the rent and that it would be paid for the duration of the tenancy then of course we would rent to a working single mother. However perhaps the mother should realise she cannot afford to live in London and move to a cheaper area where the rent would be covered by her income and child benefit. I have every sympathy because she is trying to make a living. It is the benefit system that is crap. Why do they insist in all areas of benefit in not paying enough for people to survive and then blame the landlords. Landlords have their mortgages and tax to pay. Doubtless the single mother pays very little tax compared to the landlord.


11:03 AM, 11th January 2019, About 5 years ago

No one should be surprised at any of this. I will not let to benefits tenants unless I have a cast iron guarantee of rent payments - something which Universal Credit fails to give. As a landlord if I put a cooker next to a flammable bed the Local Authority and the fire service would be onto me faster than greased lightening. If I provided accommodation as indicated in the source article I would be accused of overcrowding.
Rents are rising as a result of Local Authority actions, particularly licensing, government regulation particularly EPC enhancements, Government unnecessary bureaucracy increasing workload, enhanced stamp duty for landlords, Housing Benefit freeze and the real gem of section 24. It is little wonder that renting has become less affordable.
I used to care about my tenants but the government has demonstrated that it does not care so now neither do I . I will only accept working tenants that can prove they can afford the rent.

Whiteskifreak Surrey

11:26 AM, 11th January 2019, About 5 years ago

People on benefits generally assume that they are entitled to live where they want and the world owes them that. I would have loved to have a 6-bed in London but sadly could only afford cheaper parts of Surrey... Same with people on benefits, they should live in places where their benefit will cover the rent. Of course easier said than done, as usual. To me that fact that councils advise people to live rent -free in a private accommodation is appalling. It cannot surely be legal? Oh wait, as it does affect a public enemy No. 1, it obviously is.


11:37 AM, 11th January 2019, About 5 years ago

Single mother - can I ask where the father is. last biology lesson I attended I was told it takes 2 to make 3.

Whiteskifreak Surrey

11:46 AM, 11th January 2019, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by AA at 11/01/2019 - 11:37
Being a single mother is a way of making a living now. Cannot be generalised, as there are real tragedies and difficult circumstances, but since 'anything goes' now, father is not that necessary anymore after an initial contact. ;o)))
Saying that, the state does nothing to promote a normal family (let alone a marriage).
Good God, I sound really old...

Monty Bodkin

11:51 AM, 11th January 2019, About 5 years ago

Fourteen months for the landlord to regain possession;

Then, in April 2017, she got some bad news. “I received an eviction notice out of the blue from my landlord saying I had two months to vacate the property,”


Things didn’t improve however, and in May 2018, Limarra’s landlord was granted a possession order, forcing her to leave the following month.

Read more at:


11:51 AM, 11th January 2019, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by AA at 11/01/2019 - 11:37
As my Prof, a notorious womaniser, once said whilst discussing financial investments, "The best investment I ever made was in the London Rubber Company, and I did not buy any shares!".

Whiteskifreak Surrey

12:09 PM, 11th January 2019, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 11/01/2019 - 11:51
So she was living about 11 months rent free? Or was she still paying the rent? The timescale is shocking, no wonder no sane LL will rent to housing benefit tenants, if eviction takes so long.
It has to be said though, that the lady sounds positive, she is not work-shy and tries the best for her daughter , despite an 'accident' at 16...

Alison King

12:23 PM, 11th January 2019, About 5 years ago

I don't agree with generalisations añzb

Alison King

12:33 PM, 11th January 2019, About 5 years ago

I donto agree with generalisations about people, whether they be landlords, tenants or single mums. The latter get an unfair press and most just want to do the best for their children.
The problem as I see it is building societies who won't allow housing benefits tenants regardless of their individual circumstances and in spite of the landlord's judgement. In my view if they are hard working and aspire to be upwardly mobile they may be an excellent tenant.

1 2 3

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now