Housing minister says it is OK to ban benefit tenants

Housing minister Kris Hopkins has clarified comments he made during a Panorama programme which looked into evictions in the private rented sector.

During the programme, Hopkins said it was “perfectly legitimate” for landlords to ban tenants on housing benefit.

He was attacked over the remarks by shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds, who called them appalling.

But now he has confirmed in the House of Commons that he does not view it as appropriate for private landlords to evict tenants simply because they are on housing benefit.

Hopkins told MPs: “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.”

Earlier this year, it was revealed that major landlord Fergus Wilson had evicted all his tenants on housing benefit.

The Panorama programme featured one of those tenants who had been evicted. The tenant in question had never been behind with the rent or had any complaint against her. She did, however, go on to find another rental home.

The programme said that the biggest single cause of homelessness in England is when people lose the roof over their heads at the end of a private tenancy.

Reporter Richard Bilton said that the number of people made homeless after privately renting had trebled in five years.

He claimed: “Most have been thrown out by private landlords.”

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4 Comments

  1. MF

    He (Richard Bilton) claimed: “Most have been thrown out by private landlords.”

    I didn't see the Panorama program but what kind of a sweeping statement is that? Surely, it is a commercial arrangement. If the parties are happy, they will continue to do business. If however one of them is not, then they will consider exercising their right either to invoke the break clause (if there is one); or simply to bring the tenancy (contract) to an end when the fixed term expires.

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  2. Robert May

    How embarrassing for them both!

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  3. lorenzo

    While it is a bit harsh to evict anyone you must remember that since rent was stopped from going straight to the landlord, arrears from tenants on benefit have soared to unbelievable heights.
    What other options do landlords have.
    Have regular rent from your investment or be a philanthropist.

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  4. agentx

    Perhaps these corrupt MP's can use their second homes and fiddled expenses to fund some buy-to-lets and let all the hard done by folk on benefits with five kids move in with no app fees, no deposit and no way of evicting them quickly because the bog chain was broken by a 15 st kid two months ago? PROFESSIONAL agents provide their LL's with good rent guarantee policies. In many cases you can only qualify for the policy if the tenants are in FULL TIME EMPLOYMENT.

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