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Local Housing Allowance - Gale welcomes Tory policy statement


October 27th 2009

North Thanet's MP, Roger Gale, has this week welcomed housing policy guidelines issued by Shadow Housing Minister,  Andrew Selous, MP.
The Tory party has announced that, in government, it would give tenants in private rented property the choice of whether to have their rent paid to themselves or directly to landlords.
If implemented this would reverse the present government's insistence that rent be paid only to tenants - a policy that has on occasions left large sums of housing benefit due in rent unpaid as the recipients have spent the cash on other items.
"We have received mounting evidence from across the country that tenants in receipt of housing benefit in the private sector, charities helping the homeless and landlords have all been disadvantaged by the government's insistence that LHA (housing benefit) be paid direct to the tenant" says Selous.  "The result has been that arrears of rent have caused some landlords to stop offering properties to tenants on benefit thus restricting the number of properties available.  Charities who rent private accommodation have also lost out and landlords have also lost rent leading, in some cases, to the forced sale of properties as mortgages could not be covered."
Roger Gale adds: "When tenants were given the choice in the past around 60% found it more convenient to have their rent paid direct to the landlord.  Since the change a number of landlords in North Thanet have made contact with me to tell me that they will simply not let properties to people in receipt of housing benefit because of the risk.  That is not in the interest of those in housing need or those trying to let properties.  The sooner we are in a position to introduce this change the better".

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