An increasing number of landlords in Essex are refusing to rent to tenants who are on benefits amid fears that they may get stung.

According to the Basildon News, government changes have left many concerned that they will not get their money.

Whereas housing benefit used to be paid directly to the landlord, alterations that came into effect in the region in April mean it now goes to tenants, who are entrusted to pass it on.

The changes were intended to protect tenants against unscrupulous landlords, but many have found that the payment is "swallowed up"by financial problems, leaving insufficient funds to pay their rent.

As a result, local landlord Clive Bellingham told the paper that many in his position were now refusing to accept housing benefits tenants, claiming the new system "will never work".

"The class of people on housing benefit don't want to work and we won't get the money,"he claimed.

This comes after government minister Iain Wright vowed yesterday not to bring forward "knee-jerk legislation"that could hinder reputable landlords.ADNFCR-2002-ID-18908327-ADNFCR

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