Further recommendations in the report call on local authorities to be more pro-active in identifying vulnerable tenants, and to provide more advice services and support. Underlying this was the Committee’s emphasis that ‘the onus should not be on the claimant to inform the local authority that they are vulnerable’.
Research by the NLA shows that LHA has generated rent arrears across the whole private-rented sector of as much as £220m since it was rolled out nationally, the Committee has recommended that the Government goes further and commissions an in-depth study on rent arrears ‘to gain a clearer picture of the scale of the problem’.
David Salusbury, Chairman, NLA, said:
“This report highlights the reality that LHA is not working as well as the Government would like to believe. The NLA’s own survey found on average landlords were owed £4,400*. This is public money that neither the taxpayer nor landlords can afford to lose.
“If the sector is unconvinced by the Government’s proposals for reform and the committee’s report is critical, then we think Government needs to look carefully at these findings, deal with rent arrears and try not to make matters worse.”
* The survey, based on nearly 1,000 landlords and 13,000 tenants receiving LHA, found landlords are experiencing rent arrears of £4.4m.
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