The Welsh government is paying private landlords to house homeless tenants – but so far, uptake has been low.
As part of the £30m Ending Homeless Action Plan, local authorities in Wales are offering private landlords guaranteed rent and money towards renovations if they take on tenants who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
By paying rent directly to landlords, Welsh authorities have answered one of the most common objections landlords have to taking on tenants receiving benefits. The housing element of Universal Credit is not paid directly to the landlord by default, leaving them at risk of arrears.
But even with a rent guarantee in place, few landlords have volunteered since trials began in February. At the start of December, only 24 properties were registered with the programme. While rent payments are guaranteed, the rent offered is set at just 90% of the Local Housing Allowance rate – often far below market rents.
If the Welsh government is to reduce homelessness, they will need to get a lot more private landlords on board. Activists warn that homelessness is on the rise after the end of the eviction ban in England, and Wales is also facing an acute housing crisis amid supply shortages, rising prices and high demand for second homes.
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