There has been much written in the press and seen on the news about changes to the Benefits systems. As a landlord we have chosen not to accept tenants on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) due to the extra hassle and administration that comes with this form of renting so we will not be affected that much however it is important to recognise and be aware of what impact those changes may have.

In Chelmsford, the current (Oct 10) LHA rate for renting a room in a shared house is approximately £80.07 per week. The average room rate for our rooms is approximately £100 so you can see that there is a significant shortfall each week which would need to be topped up by the tenant if we wanted to go down this route.

According to data collected by the leading house share website the average weekly price for room rental in Chelmsford is £96 per week so you can see there is a mismatch between LHA rates in Chelmsford and the average weekly room rates which means that tenants will still have to cover some of their living costs if they rent a room in a shared house so that the landlords do not miss out.

One fear is that many tenants in receipt of LHA payments will simply have to look for lower standards of accommodation that are cheaper so that the benefit payment covers 100% of the renting cost. I’m sure the debate will continue until the full impact of the changes comes into effect in the coming months and years.