LANDLORDS fear they will be the first to lose out in Blackpool’s mounting money crisis.
As revealed in The Gazette, the average level of debt in the resort last year was £18,751 and almost 500 people sought advice for their cash problems.
Rent, credit card bills and payday loans have all mounted up to pile the pressure on families who cannot afford to pay the thousands they owe.
But a landlords association says the rising cost of debt across the Fylde coast will hit their members first as people decide to avoid paying their rent bill first.
John McGlynn, vice-chairman of the Fylde Coast Landlords Forum, said: “The Government stopped paying housing benefit to landlords five years ago and gave it to the tenants instead.
“This means the money would only go to the landlord if the tenant was having trouble with debt.
“I’ve got nearly 30 tenants myself and when we meet with landlords the main concern to us is what we will do when people get into arrears.
“The Government is getting ready to introduce its universal credit and this is only going to exacerbate the problem because people will struggle with their bills.”
The universal credit system will see all major benefits, like housing benefit, handed out in a lump sum every month.
Mr McGlynn says this will hit landlords the hardest and has raised concerns about people not saving the money long enough to pay their rent.
He added: “Money will be paid directly to the tenants and that’s what we fear most of all.
“Private landlords provide 22 per cent of the homes in this town, which is a lot more than the national average and it’s something we are concerned about.”
Paul Bamber, chairman of the forum, added: “If this money is paid direct to the tenant and not to the landlord there’s a tremendous temptation to use that money for other purposes.
“When they don’t pay rent it’s because they know the system a landlord has to go through, which is not giving notice for two months.
“Those who need the money and can’t get it through any other service are very tempted to make other areas of their financial life suffer.”