The National Landlords Association has completed a survey of 500 landlords and a massive 96% raised concerns about the introduction of Universal Credit. In April 2013 Universal Credit is set to replace the existing system of benefit payments. The idea is for benefit claimants to receive a single payment each month and this will include the housing element. Landlords are worried about this because they will no longer receive the housing benefit direct from the council but will have to wait until the tenant pays them the full rent. The only circumstances in which direct payment will be made to the landlord will be following a pattern of arrears.

Some of our valued landlord insurance clients will have experience of renting properties to housing benefit claimants and we would be interested to hear their views. The Chairman of the National Landlords Association, David Salisbury supports the idea of encouraging people to take responsibility for their finances but he is concerned about the removal of direct payment of housing benefit to landlords. He says he hopes that landlords, tenants and local authorities can work together to ensure the smooth transition from Local Housing Allowance to Universal Credit.

The survey found that leading priorities for landlords for 2013 were avoiding arrears and void periods. Other priorities included improving their properties, especially by making them more energy efficient. For more information see The National Landlords Association website.

Meanwhile, Belvoir Lettings have published research that they commissioned into average UK rents. It shows that since 2008 the average monthly rent across the country has fallen by about 2.4%. In 2008 the average rent was £705 per month while in 2012 it was £682. Of course, this disguises the enormous variations from area to area.

If you would like more information about this research visit www.belvoirlettings.com