At this time of year, few of the parents proudly watching their children perform in a production of the Nativity are likely to be concerned with its historical authenticity. Whether the story can be taken literally or that it is a myth meant to be viewed symbolically the landlord who offers the desperate expectant couple shelter (even it is only a stable) is a key figure.
Fast forward to 21st century Britain in Waverley. It is likely that the equivalent of Mary and Joseph would be seeking accommodation in the private rented sector and could well be claiming Housing Benefit. The shortage of social housing in this area and the cost of buying your own home means that the private rented sector is the only option available to many Waverley residents. Once again the role of the landlord is crucial.
As a hard working gainfully employed carpenter Joseph might reasonably expect to be able to support himself and his family. However, a significant number of working families struggle to live on incomes low enough to make them eligible to receive Housing Benefit (HB). In August 2015 there were just over 5,000 people receiving HB in Waverley and more than half of these were working.
Let’s assume Mary and Joseph are receiving HB. Would they be able to rent in Waverley? There is evidence that some private landlords operate a ‘no DSS’ policy (which means they won’t let to tenants on benefits). However, around 1,350 (26%) of Waverley HB recipients currently rent properties from private landlords – so it can be done successfully.
Citizens Advice Waverley would like to gather information from landlords about their experiences (good and bad) of dealing with tenants who are receiving benefits. Working with Waverley Borough Council, we will use the results to devise measures which will deal with landlord concerns about taking on tenants on benefits. These might include accreditation for tenants to show they have completed financial capability training for example.
If you are a landlord letting property in Waverley we would be grateful if you could complete our questionnaire which can be found on
The survey is completely anonymous and should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.
If you need help to find out whether you are entitled to benefits or need advice on renting somewhere to live and to get information and advice on Debt, Work, Consumer Issues, Relationships, Housing, Law and Rights, Education, Discrimination, Tax and Healthcare you can:
– call 0344 848 7969 to speak to an assessor or make an appointment to talk to an adviser face-to face. (calls to this service cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers included as part of a mobile allowance or a landline call package.
– visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ to access our comprehensive range of information and advice,
– visit https://casws.org.uk/ to find out what’s happening at Citizens Advice Waverley
– or follow us on Twitter @ Waverley CAB