0:05 AM, 3rd July 2023, About 8 months ago 3
Propertymark has called on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to reconsider its current Local Housing Allowance (LHA) scheme and communicate with landlords more.
Speaking at a recent Commons Committee hearing, the organisation’s Timothy Douglas detailed how the existing level of LHA is affecting the private rented sector (PRS).
Propertymark, along with various other professionals from the PRS including tenants, policymakers and homelessness advocates, were examining the influence of LHA on the housing sector.
They all said that there was a need for the DWP to engage with landlords and acknowledge their vital role as stakeholders in the provision of housing.
By not doing so, vulnerable tenants could be priced out of the PRS as rocketing demand means rents are rising – but the LHA is not keeping up.
Mr Douglas, who is the head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, said: “The decision to phase out Mortgage Interest Relief and other unfavourable taxation policies is resulting in landlords facing unprecedented financial challenges.
“If a decision not to implement a pro-growth taxation agenda for the private rented sector is not brought forward, it will be the most vulnerable tenants who are negatively impacted, many of whom are in receipt of benefits.
“The UK Government must increase housing options for the most vulnerable by setting Local Housing Allowance at the thirtieth percentile, if not the fiftieth, and to increase this annually to keep pace with market rents.”
He added: “A change in rhetoric is also needed with policymakers viewing private landlords and letting agents as part of the solution to resolve the housing crisis.”
He said he was pleased to see the DWP is now investigating how it can engage with membership bodies such as Propertymark.
Below, Timothy Douglas, Propertymark’s head of policy and campaigns, was invited to give evidence to the Department for Work and Pensions Commons Committee hearing on the current benefit levels in the UK.