More than a third of landlords in the private rental sector have tenants receiving Universal Credit in rent arrears, an increase of 10% on last year, according to new research by the Residential Landlords Association.
According to a survey of almost 3,000 landlords conducted by the RLA, 38% of landlords currently housing tenants in receipt of Universal Credit, said they had tenants in rent arrears.
In February of last year that figure stood at 27%.
The survey also showed that the average amount owed in rent arrears by tenants receiving Universal Credit has reached £1,150.
With the pace of the Universal Credit roll out set to increase across the UK from October, there are warnings that the system as it is currently poses a threat to the finances of both tenants and their landlords.
While the impact of Universal Credit will be felt by tenants first, landlords could find their own finances hit if arrears start to mount up, especially if they are still repaying a mortgage on the rental property.
The RLA are calling for the government to cut the seven week waiting period before a claimant can start receiving Universal Credit and for payments to be made directly to landlords when a tenants has built up arrears.
RLA Vice Chairman, Chris Town, said: “Whilst we continue to welcome the principle of simplifying the benefit system, it cannot be right that as it is currently designed, Universal Credit is leading many more tenants into rent arrears.
“This is not financially responsible and does nothing to encourage landlords to house people needing to claim benefit.”
If you’re a landlord struggling with outstanding mortgage debt or arrears are affecting your finances, contact Landlord Debt Advisory on 0161 222 4311 or fill out a contact form on our website and arrange an initial free, no obligation consultation.