Would you rent your Walsall property to a Housing Benefit applicant?

Would you rent your Walsall property to a housing benefit applicant?
Would you rent your Walsall property to a housing benefit applicant?

What does the ideal Walsall tenant look like?”, asked one of my landlords from Brownhills the other day, to which he carried on before I could reply, “Let me guess, a professional couple, both in their 30’s, flawlessly tidy, pays their rent early, doesn’t complain or fuss, with no plans to move any time soon and cheerfully accepts annual rent rises”.

Before I can answer that question properly, I have always believed all a landlord wants, and expects, of their tenants is to pay their rent on time and look after the property as if it were their own.  In return, the landlord should provide a property that is warm, clean, and damp free and resolve any maintenance issues quickly and without fuss.

So, let’s get back to the tenants – tenants tend to fall into several groups… 20 something professionals; young and middle aged families; corporate tenants (the employer finds their employee a house to live in); students; older singles/couples and housing benefit claimants – and they come with different needs and wants.  So choosing who best suits your Walsall property – and steering clear of bad tenants – is a big factor in making property investment a success.

One topic that I am often asked by landlords is “Should I rent my Walsall property to tenants on housing benefits?”

It might interest the landlords of Walsall that of the 4,521 private rented properties in the local council area, 36.9% of the tenants of those properties are on some form of housing benefit.

…1,668 properties to be exact! I know many landlords have suffered late rent payments with tenants on benefit, especially since 2008, when local authorities started paying housing benefit direct to tenants rather than directly to the landlords, but you can’t ignore the fact that housing benefit tenants make up a significant proportion of the Walsall rental population.  My opinion is that the final choice of accepting such tenants has to be the landlords but you can’t tar every tenant with the same brush as individual circumstances can vary enormously.

Email: info@ashmorelettings.co.uk  Phone: 01922 311016 

Interestingly, it might surprise some readers of the Walsall Property Blog, when we compare Walsall to the national picture, Walsall’s Housing benefit claimants are lower, as nationally a higher proportion of private tenants claim the benefit.  Nationally, 39.2% of the tenants of the 3,891,467 rental properties in Great Britain claim some form of housing benefit; 1,526,915 properties to be exact.

Now, let us look at the occupations of Walsall tenants, which makes even more fascinating reading.  Of the 4,521 privately rented properties in the Walsall area, 3,301 head tenants (the head tenant being classified as the head of the household) are in employment with the other 1,220 rental property head tenants either being retired, long term sick, students or job seekers.

Splitting those 3,301 head tenants down into their relevant professions, 916 of them are Managers, Directors, Senior Officials, Professional or Technical Professions, 412 in Administrative and secretarial occupations, 517 in skilled trades, 347 in the caring, leisure and other service occupations, 352 sales and customer service occupations, 401 plant and machine operatives and finally, 356 in elementary occupations.

The one thing I have always known anecdotally, but until I did my research, never had anything to back it up with, was the high proportion of professionals and skilled trades renting property in Walsall – intriguing eh?

Maybe in future articles, I will look deeper into the corporate tenant market, young and middle aged families, students and older persons rental markets…. but in the meantime, if you want more news, views and commentary about the Walsall property market sign up to the blog now!

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