21 May

LHA money 'should go straight to landlords'

LHA money 'should go straight to landlords'

A property expert has called for a number of changes to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) scheme to ensure landlords are guaranteed to receive the cash that is meant for them.

Manager of commercial property firm Clarity Commercial Chris Jenkins said that the current system often results in buy-to-let homeowners missing out on the benefit money.

Research group BDRC recently reported that the number of landlords who look after benefit claimants has more than doubled in the last 12 months, which suggests the problem could be more widespread than it was in 2008.

At present, the council pays the LHA straight to the tenant, but this is not always passed on to the landlord.

"At the moment the only way that a landlord is allowed to take payment directly is if their tenant is two months in arrears and if this is the case it is unlikely that any landlord will allow the tenant to stay anyway," he explained.

Commenting more generally on the system, Mr Jenkins suggested awareness of LHA initiatives needs to be raised.

He cited one programme which involves local councils paying deposits for tenants, as long as the money is placed in a tenancy deposit scheme.

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