Direct benefit claimants pay rent first
Most tenants receiving housing benefit directly make rent payments their first priority, and many cases of rent arrears are linked to administrative problems rather than non-payment, according to the Chartered Institute of Housing.
Government plans to pay housing benefit direct to claimants have had a mixed response. While those tenants with an organised approach to money management are expected to adjust well to direct payment of housing benefit, others will need support and money management advice in order to make the transition, according to the research.
Claimants who already receive direct payment appreciate the control they have over the Housing Benefit and the rent payment process, and the fact that they can conceal their benefit status from their private landlord, so have greater housing choice.
“Most people will be able to adjust to having housing benefit paid to them instead of their landlord, but safeguards need to be in place for the minority of claimants that do have problems,” said Oxford University Professor Peter Kemp, who led the study.