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Will the benefit changes make a bad situation worse for landlords?

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Evictions are already up this year by an estimated 17% (official figures have suggested). More landlords are forced to resort to the courts to obtain orders for possession after tenants have fallen into rent arrears.

The government is proposing to reform the benefits system to introduce a new regime whereby tenants will receive one monthly benefit payment. That payment will incorporate housing benefits.

At present landlords with tenants who are eligible for housing benefits and who fall into arrears of rent can have housing benefit payments directly paid to them. This has the advantage of giving security to the landlord, stopping arrears getting out of control and arguably an opportunity of securing the tenancy against eviction.

The impact of the benefit changes is likely to hit landlords hardest, forcing landlords to consider and take action to evict tenants much sooner. Ultimately the inevitable delay involved in obtaining possession through the courts will cause the arrears to increase and detriment to the landlord.

Landlords should take legal advice before taking action to evict tenants wherever possible.

By residential landlords solicitor, Louise Hebborn

Stephensons offer fixed fees for preparation and service of notices and for eviction proceedings: Fixed fee eviction