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