Nine out of ten residents want benefit paid to landlord

Nine out of ten social housing residents want housing benefit paid direct to landlord.

New research, produced by research consultancy Policis, as part of a national survey of 1000 social housing residents drawn from three of the country’s leading housing associations shows:

  • 93% of social housing residents surveyed believe it is better for housing benefit to be paid direct to landlords.
  • 54% of social housing residents feel that being paid benefits monthly would make it more difficult to manage their money and keep on top of commitments.
  • 35% say that are not confident they would be able to keep up their rental payments.
  • 80% say Government’s proposals to pay housing benefit direct to residents is a “bad idea”.

The overwhelming majority of social housing residents would prefer to have their housing benefit paid direct to their landlord so that they felt secure in their home, according to new research.

The research, supported by the National Housing Federation, was based on interviews with Affinity Sutton, Hyde and Riverside residents and found seven in ten (71%) of social housing residents received housing benefit with more than nine in ten (92%) having their housing benefit paid to their landlord.

Crucially, when told that the Government is considering paying housing benefit to residents in the future - 80% of those surveyed said they felt this was a bad idea.

The survey, commissioned by Big Issue Invest a specialist provider of finance to social enterprises and supported by housing associations including Circle, East Thames, L&Q, and Southern was part of a wider project looking at ways of creating greater access to mainstream credit and financial services for social housing residents.

Keith Exford, Chief Executive of national affordable housing provider Affinity Sutton, said: “We support the need for reform of the benefit system and we welcome any simplification of the current system that makes it easier for our residents to understand, claim and receive the support they need.

“While we recognise that the payment of the housing element of the Universal Credit directly to residents supports the broad principles of financial inclusion and independence, this research highlights the very real concerns of our residents that removing this option will leave many households struggling to pay their rents and keep their homes.”

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “These polling results support the Federation’s position that preservation of customer choice should be a key principle of welfare reform. They unequivocally show that tenants want to retain the ability to choose to have the housing element of their welfare payments paid direct to their landlords. The government should now confirm that customer choice will be retained in the design of the Universal Credit.”

Please note this research was conducted prior to Affinity Sutton merging with Circle Housing to create your new housing association Clarion Housing.

Read the research