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Landlord to evict tenants on benefits in favour of eastern Europeans

A landlord who owns about 1,000 properties has vowed to no longer rent to people on benefits as he is worried about their ability to pay.

Fergus Wilson, who owns a large number of properties in the south-east of England, has issued eviction notices to 200 of his tenants and has also ceased advertising his properties as suitable for those on housing benefit.

Mr Wilson said: “Many, many wise landlords are not taking housing benefit any more.

“The Government is cutting back and they are saying ‘we’re not going to pay you as much’. In addition to that, we’ve got the Universal Credit situation.”

Universal Credit is a government scheme which will see all benefits combined in a single monthly payment.

Mr Wilson said he is worried that tenants will not be able to manage their money and will fall into arrears.

He said: “We’ve got lots of eastern European people who are working. Landlords are business people and we are looking to make a profit.

“What I can foresee happening is all the foreign people taking private sector housing with local people left in social housing.”

A statement from the National Landlords’ Association (NLA) in response to the move explained many private landlords are shifting away from the housing benefit rental market as it may present a greater risk compared to appealing to working tenants.

Recent figures from the NLA show that at the end of last year, only one in five private landlords were letting to people claiming benefit.

However, Richard Lambert, chief executive officer of NLA, said: “We know of many landlords who have rented to housing benefit tenants on for many years and have never had a problem, so our advice would be to always look at every tenant on an individual basis.”

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