In the past they may have received a bit of a bad rap, but today those on housing benefit in the UK are treated with a bit more respect - thanks to the fact the recent recession forced many respectable individuals and families onto the mercy of their local benefits office and food bank.
This means that, on the whole, the ‘class’ of housing benefit tenant has gone up too. You’ll find these are individuals who like to keep a clean home and are respectful of property – so forget the 80s image of the booze-raddled drug addict and unemployed loser who regarded vandalism as an amusing past time.
More reassuring than that though, housing benefit claimants who rent via a housing association don’t see the rent money because it’s paid directly into their landlord’s bank account (the lease is in the councils rather than their name). This means that you, as a landlord, are guaranteed a regular income, on the same day every month, without having to chase up rental arrears. Not only that but housing association clients also tend to stay around for longer periods of time than the private tenant, meaning you are guaranteed a regular income for a number of years – and which, let’s face it, is what every successful landlord is striving for.
The Private Sector Leasing Scheme
Some local authorities have signed up to the Private Sector Leasing Scheme (PSLS) where they use landlords with private property to re-house emergency and temporary homeless individuals and families. This is usually done via one of the local housing associations. Again, this results in a guaranteed income for you, as landlord, for up to five years or so. In addition the council will ensure that your property is in a good state at the end of the tenancy by carrying out any necessary repairs themselves, as well as paying for it to be professionally cleaned.
It’s worth checking with your own local authority to find out if they’ve adopted PSLS. In some areas it’s so popular that there is a waiting list for landlords so if this is the route you’re thinking of going down then ring your council today to register interest as soon as possible.
Should I let my property furnished or unfurnished?
Again, check with your local authority to find out whether they prefer furnished or unfurnished properties. For the emergency homeless obviously furnished would be best. For long-term housing association lets often families have their own furniture, which would cost too much to keep in storage.
Generally local authorities and councils prefer family homes and two bedroom apartments for the PSLS scheme. Studio flats and HMOs tend to be turned down flat.
The property will also have to come up to health and safety standards and have a fire plan. Here we list the benefits of renting to those on housing benefits – as well as some criticisms of the scheme.
The benefits of renting to housing benefit claimants
Find out more about the PSLS and similar schemes on our website Property Go-To Girl where you'll find we specialise in helping investors buy and manage HMOs in the Oxford area in particular.
I'm Jacquie the Property Go-To Girl. I am passionate about property. I love to help people make the most out of their property investments!