13/12/2018 18:00 GMT

Eight In Ten Landlords Would Not Let To A Young Homeless Person – New Research

Social housing lettings to under-30s have decreased by a third in eight years.

The reality of renting private housing for young homeless people has been revealed in a new report (file photo).

A shocking eight out of ten landlords would refuse to let their properties to a young person who has been homeless, new research has found.

The vast majority of those renting out homes said they would avoid tenants with no previous fixed address, a poll for the Centrepoint charity revealed.

And the same study found just 19% of landlords surveyed said they would rent to someone on the new Universal Credit benefits scheme.

Young homeless people are often priced out of the private rented sector, meanwhile, as students and young professionals can pay more.

While some landlords cited restrictions on buy-to-let mortgages for their stance on renting to those who had been homeless, 80% said they would not let out properties to such tenants even if the rules were lifted.

The charity also found social housing lettings to under-30s and homeless people have decreased by a third over last eight years. 

24-year-old Aidan has been trying to move into a private rented property for more than 12 months.

Aidan, 24, who lives in a Centrepoint hostel in London, told HuffPost UK he had been trying unsuccessfully to move into new accommodation for a year. 

“I look for properties to rent online but a lot of them say ‘no DSS’ which means they won’t rent to people like me who claim housing benefit,” he said.

“The amount of benefit I can get is a lot less than the cost of renting in London. It’s demoralising because I am ready to live independently but I feel trapped.  I think that some private landlords stereotype young people and think they are unreliable and that they will party and drink and things like that.

“But a lot of young people aren’t like that and it’s a shame they have that attitude towards us. They treat all young people the same because of the attitude of a few of us, they think we’re all like that.”

Centrepoint found that most young homeless people are only eligible for the shared accommodation element of housing benefit, which has been frozen since 2016 and does not come close to covering rent in many areas.

The survey of 1,054 private landlords across Britain was conducted by YouGov in August 2018.

Seyi Obakin, the charity’s chief executive, said: “For young people who cannot rely on the support of their families or the security of permanent, well paid work to help pay the rent, government support can be a vital lifeline.

“But inadequate rates of housing support and landlords’ attitudes mean many young people leaving homelessness are unable to find a place to live, even in the social housing sector.”

The charity said ministers should “urgently review” the rate of housing support offered to young people and put pressure on developers to build more genuinely affordable homes.

Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse, who is supporting Centrepoint’s campaign, said: “Young people are at real risk of repeat homelessness due to a lack of social housing they can move on to.”

A government spokesperson said: “We are investing £1.2bn to tackle homelessness and we have delivered over 293,000 affordable rental homes since 2010.

“With Universal Credit, rent can be paid directly to landlords and we support vulnerable claimants to make housing payments.”