With George Osborne recently announcing his plans to implement further welfare reforms, a number of landlords have decided that they will no longer let to DSS tenants. Naturally, those that have been vocal about this stance have received widespread criticism, however that doesn’t change the fact that more and more landlords are refusing to let to those that receive benefits. However, letting to DSS tenants doesn’t have to be as risky as expected, and here we look at four good reasons why all landlords should let to DSS tenants:
The news doesn’t tell you everything
DSS tenants are often encompassed by prejudices and stereotypes, often resulting in them all being tarred with the same brush. Unfortunately, the news plays a big part in creating these stereotypes as they often publish stories on DSS tenants that have destroyed properties, caused a nuisance to the local community or failed to pay large sums of rent. It is important to remember that the reason why you hear these stories about DSS tenants is because they are more interesting than ones that, for instance, describe DSS tenants paying their rent on time and looking after their properties. News stories are often there to shock and attract attention, so it’s only the worst of DSS tenants they focus on, not the majority.
It can help improve the Private Rental Sector
By not letting to DSS tenants, landlords are leaving out a large proportion of the population, ultimately making it even harder for those on benefits to live normal lives. A big problem is that as there is so much demand for private rental accommodation landlords can be more discerning when it comes to who lives in their properties. Not only is this bad for those looking for accommodation but it also pushes rent prices up as landlords choose to let only to those with larger incomes. Ultimately, this will cause a bubble much like what we have seen in the property market, and one day this bubble will burst leaving landlords unable to find tenants that can afford their rent prices.
The community can benefit
The main reason the government created the welfare reforms is to make society fairer for all by ensuring those on benefits receive no more than those in full time work. The government are trying to incentivise those who have been on benefits for long periods of time to get back into work and help themselves, however this is almost impossible if society doesn’t help them when they are starting out. With so many people still struggling due to the recession it’s up to communities as a whole to help, and without support many could find themselves in a downward spiral. We only have to look at the rising number of homeless people throughout the UK to see that refusing those that need it the most has dire consequences.
It can expand and protect your business
The fact of the matter is that even though DSS tenants are statistically more likely to fall into rent arrears than those who do not receive housing benefits, any tenant can fall into rent arrears due to unforeseen circumstances. Even those in long term employment can find themselves struggling to pay their rent if an emergency means they have to spend a large portion of their budget on something other than their rent. Furthermore, a number of people have faced redundancy in the past few years due to the struggling economy, and it’s during times like this that most people start to default on their rent payments. Letting to DSS tenants is therefore as risky as letting to any other tenant – a risk that can easily be negated with rent guarantee insurance. Opening your criteria up to include DSS tenants is a great way to find a wider range of tenants, as well as develop your letting skills so you can deal with a variety of tenancy types.
With so many landlords outright refusing to let to DSS tenants we will soon see an increase in those who cannot find a home relying more heavily on housing associations. Landlords who stand up for DSS tenants can improve the private rental sector as well as their businesses, so make sure you consider them when finding new tenants.