Inadequate benefits ‘excluding people from the housing market’

Inadequate benefits ‘excluding people from the housing market’

10:01 AM, 15th May 2023, About 9 months ago 2

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A leading industry body has urged the UK government to improve access to housing for people in receipt of benefits in the PRS. 

Propertymark told the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee that many people in receipt of benefits are excluded from some housing options due to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates.

LHA rates have been frozen since 2020 and have not kept up with market rents.

‘Completely unacceptable that UC has caused some tenants to go into debt’

Propertymark said it was “completely unacceptable” that Universal Credit has caused some tenants to go into debt while waiting for the initial payment from the first five weeks.

The industry body recommended that the waiting period for the beginning of a claim be reviewed and turning UC advances into a grant.

It also recommended that the loan and direct payment of the housing benefit element of UC should be paid directly to landlords as the default option.

End the freeze on LHA rates

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns, said: “We have called on the UK Government time and time again to end the freeze on LHA rates and improve how Universal Credit operates in order to help its recipients’ ability to obtain good quality and well-managed housing.

“We hope the influential Work and Pensions Committee can also add its weight to the issue and force the UK Government to address these urgent issues and reengage with stakeholders representing the private rented sector as a priority.”

Temporary suspension of the shared accommodation rate

Propertymark also called for the temporary suspension of the shared accommodation rate.

The industry body also drew attention to the Benefit Cap was having on large families, especially in high-rent areas such as London.


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Comments

Judith Wordsworth

11:07 AM, 15th May 2023, About 9 months ago

Hate to say it but many people are doing better on benefits than many of those who are not.

I rented to those on benefits and my tenants had more disposable income than me, bigger TVs, newer cars, expensive holidays etc. Hence one of the straws that broke this camels back and selling of my PRS properties.

It would have been good if the housing/UC benefit had been paid in 5 weeks, it was more like 8. So no income yet leasehold monthly
expenses still needing to be paid.

Yes I'm not in my 20s/30s but expectations for this age group is to leave home asap and not live with parents until have either saved up to buy their own property or move out on marriage/cohabitation. Hence the massive rise in HMOs over the last 2-3 decades

GlanACC

20:35 PM, 15th May 2023, About 9 months ago

LHA is too low. So although illegal, if anyone is on LHA and needs to top up find any excuse not to rent to them (there will be other people wanting to rent your property). My experience is a) they have to re-apply each year and some tenants can't even be bothered to do that so the payment stops while it is reassessed b) they take a part time job or change a job and their income changes so the payment is stopped while it is recalculated. In both cases you can forget about getting any rent for 6 weeks or more and the tenant will be so far in debt with other payment (eg gas/water) that they will never catch up.

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