Call to unfreeze LHA immediately to reduce homelessness in London

Call to unfreeze LHA immediately to reduce homelessness in London

0:04 AM, 29th December 2023, About 4 months ago 5

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A homeless charity is urging the Government to unfreeze the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates immediately in a bid to reduce the rising number of homeless people on London’s streets.

The Single Homeless Project, the largest charity dedicated to helping Londoners in crisis, wants action to prevent homelessness for up to 17,500 Londoners it says will be forced to live in temporary accommodation by April 2024.

According to a new analysis by the charity, 17,500 people could be forced into homelessness before April, which translates to one person every eight minutes and 30 seconds.

‘Homelessness is at a record high in our city’

The charity’s chief executive, Liz Rutherfoord, said: “Homelessness is at a record high in our city with one person pushed into this devasting situation every eight and a half minutes.

“The Government has already shown they recognise that the current Local Housing Allowance isn’t fit for purpose.

“The situation is urgent now, so why must thousands of Londoners face a truly miserable winter, when action could be taken immediately?”

She added: “As a charity, we prevent homelessness for thousands of Londoners every year and we help people move from temporary accommodation into a private rented property.

“In both cases, the Government’s low Local Housing Allowance is hindering our efforts and not giving Londoners a fair chance.”

The amount someone can receive in housing benefit

The LHA determines the amount someone can receive in housing benefit, set at the cheapest 30% of privately rented properties in the local area.

However, in the 2023 Autumn Statement, the Government declared that the four-year cash freeze in LHA rates would come to an end.

Starting from April 2024, LHA rates will be determined by two factors: the size of the property a household is entitled to, with bedroom entitlement based on family size and characteristics, and the 30th percentile rent for properties of different sizes within each local ‘Broad Rental Market Area’ (BRMA), based on rents surveyed in the year to September 2023, up to national maximum amounts.

This prolonged LHA freeze is now a leading cause of homelessness in London, the charity says, forcing many people into rent arrears and homelessness.

It also means that Londoners living in homeless hostels and temporary accommodation are often stuck there for months, unable to afford the rent in a private rented property and blocking the bed space needed to help someone else off the streets.

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Bernard Mealing

10:07 AM, 29th December 2023, About 4 months ago

So the rents are being based on the lower 30% of properties. Does that mean we should have our rental properties also at this lower standard ???? Just asking for a friend !!!


11:16 AM, 30th December 2023, About 4 months ago

Unfreezing LHA will do nothing until they pay direct to Landlords by default again. No way I am entertaining any benefit tenants without a firm guarantee. Ever.

Cider Drinker

20:54 PM, 30th December 2023, About 4 months ago

They could increase LHA to the 100th percentile or reduce it to the 1st percentile.
Neither option would reduce homelessness. No additional houses would be built and no fewer new people would come to the U.K.
The 30th percentile isn’t so bad. If the rental prices are analysed, I’d expect 90%+ of properties to be rented within a narrow band around the 30th percentile.
The problem is that landlords of the cheapest and nastiest properties in a BRMA increase their rents to the LHA rate making the 30th percentile the 1st percentile.

Old Mrs Landlord

18:08 PM, 31st December 2023, About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Cider Drinker at 30/12/2023 - 20:54I fear you do not realise the big disparity in some parts of the country between LHA rates and local market rents. Some of us have been subsidizing longstanding LHA tenants for years.rather than see them on the streets. We have two identical properties and rent on the one with benefit tenants is currently £200 per month less than the one with a working tenant, despite them paying a top-up LHA will not rise to match anything available where our properties are situated. As long as it is not actually making a loss we shall continue to let the flat to this couple at a lower rate than anything comparable on the local market but will raise the rent to the new LHA in April. It is certainly not one of the nastiest in the BRMA as you suggest. We have one such property but others on here, for instance Mick Roberts, have quite a few properties/tenants in a similar position. Perhaps there are some landlords fitting the profile you describe.

Reluctant Landlord

15:48 PM, 4th January 2024, About 4 months ago

has anyone found anywhere yet that states what the new LHA rates will actually be from April?
I guess it's not a simple case of upping all rents by X% so how do you work it out exactly?

Trying to get ahead of the game and figure out what my benefit tenants new UC housing element payment is going to be ...

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