The Housing Minister Makes Inappropriate Comments About Housing Benefit Claimants

housing[typography font=”Cardo” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#000000″][dropcap]T[/dropcap][/typography]he Housing Minister, Kris Hopkins, has warned that its inappropriate for private landlords to evict their tenants based on the fact they are receiving housing benefits.

When Mr Hopkins was speaking in the House of Commons, he declared that he wanted to clarify the remarks he made in a BBC Panorama broadcast about homelessness. The remarks were surrounding him describing it as being “perfect legitimate” for landlords to refuse tenancies to those who were receive housing benefits.

Emma Reynolds, Labour’s shadow housing minister, branded the remarks as appalling. In the Communities and Local Government questions in parliament, Diana Johnson, a Labour MP, asked Eric Pickles if he agreed with his minister on the removal of people on housing benefits by their landlords. This prompted Mr Hopkins to say [quote]May I clarify what I said? It is not appropriate for a landlord to remove somebody just because they are on housing benefit, but an individual can make a commercial choice about who they want to live in their accommodation. It seems that the Labour party, in its forthcoming manifesto, will prescribe who can live in an individual’s house. A private investor who has purchased a house should have the opportunity to choose who lives in that house.[/quote]

Large private landlord, Fergus Wilson, revealed in January this year that he has sent eviction notices to any of his tenants that where receiving housing benefits.  Shelter, the homelessness charity, is warning that if other landlords adopt policies similar to Mr Wilson’s, there will be widespread ‘blackspots’ around the country, which are areas of the country where people who are receiving housing benefits will be simply unable to rent all together.

The director of policy and communications at Shelter, Roger Harding, said [quote]There’ll be areas where, if you lose your job or become ill, and you try and fall back on housing benefit, it won’t be high enough for you to find somewhere. Unless you have savings, you’re going to move town.[/quote]

If you find yourself unable to afford certain housing costs in your rented accommodation, you may find that you are entitled to receiving housing benefits. The money you receive from the benefits can only be used to meet the costs of rent, it can’t be used for heating, gas electricity or food. You can ring the housing benefit contact number if you are unsure about how to apply for the benefit or have questions regarding the eligibility of your situation.