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Tories to change LHA to help vulnerable tenants

"The current situation is bad for everyone, and I can see no reason why people on Local Housing Allowance shouldn’t enjoy the freedom to have their Housing Benefit paid direct to their landlord," he said.

Shadow Work and Pensions Minister, Andrew Selous said: "We believe that tenants should have the choice of where their rent money is paid to, especially if it makes the difference between a property being available to them or not. The government are blind to the problems that low income tenants are facing and should restore this choice to tenants now."

After the announcement The National Landlords Association (NLA), claimed a lobbying victory.

NLA Chairman David Salusbury said: "LHA is now actively contributing to a shrinking of housing supply for benefit claimants. This latest proposal from the Tories is to be welcomed, but more importantly we want to see LHA properly assessed and tenants to be able to choose how their rent is paid. If a tenant wants their rent to go directly to their landlord – and this might be for a number of reasons – then this should be permitted within the rules. In the same way, if a tenant wants to manage their own rent payments, this is their choice.

"The NLA has worked extremely closely with the relevant Shadow teams on LHA reform. We are very pleased to have been part of their thinking on this issue.""

Meanwhile, Phil Calderbank, Director at lettingsearch.co.uk, said: "The Tory proposals to allow tenants to regain the choice to have their allowance paid directly to their landlord under a Conservative Government are welcomed.

"The right to choose will give landlords greater confidence that rents will be paid as well as offering a more secure option for the most vulnerable tenants. The move will give a huge boost to the private sector lettings market as we seek to come out of the downturn.

"However, LHA is a serious issue and we sincerely hope that the Tories are not just paying lip service to what they know will be a popular vote winner come election day. Being able to guarantee a sufficient supply of affordable housing to let will be an essential task for the next Government."

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