Briefing: Rewarding Rogues?

By: Kate Webb  Published: September 2012


Shelter acknowledges the frustration caused by the fact that a small minority of rogue landlords can exploit the housing benefit system, either by overcharging tenants for substandard accommodation or as part of a general pattern of criminal and negligent behaviour. But a blanket ban on the payment of housing benefit when a household rents a property in poor condition or from a rogue landlord is a high risk move which could backfire on low income households.

Summary

The private rented sector is both expensive and prone to poor conditions. The experiences of Shelter clients show landlord behaviour also remains a concern, particularly at the bottom end of the market where a minority of rogue landlords are able to exploit vulnerable renters. The combination of the rising cost of housing benefit paid to private landlords and renewed interest in the problem of rogues has prompted calls for tighter restrictions on housing benefit payments to rogue landlords or for substandard accommodation.

This briefing outlines the issues at stake, and considers the options for using housing benefit payments to improve standards and drive rogue landlords out of the private rented sector.

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