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“It is the introduction in 2008 of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) as a means of calculating Housing Benefit payments, and subsequent changes to LHA rates, that is driving the increase in homelessness from the private rented sector.”
Research commissioned by the RLA into the causes of homelessness in the PRS has been carried out by the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit at Manchester Metropolitan University.
The report written by Dr Chris O’Leary, Dr Susan O’Shea and Prof Kevin Albertson and published by the MMU titled “Homelessness and the Private Rented Sector” can be downloaded if you click here.
Dr Chris O’Leary, deputy director for the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit, said: “Whilst current debate is focused on changes to the way that landlords reclaim possession of a property, this does not tackle reasons why they need to do so.
“With the demand for rented housing remaining high, our report calls for co-operation between councils, landlords and the government to support and sustain tenancies. This includes ensuring that benefits reflect the realities of today’s rents and work is undertaken to prevent rent arrears building in the first place.”
The report shows the gap widening between LHA rates and market rent increases with a quarter of landlords surveyed indicating LHA rates were now at least £100 per month below market rent prices in the PRS.
Half of the Section 21 notices issued by surveyed landlords where for reasons of rent arrears, anti-social behaviour or property damage. The report therefore arguing that Section 21 should not be described as no fault eviction.
Evidence from the English Housing Survey shows that 90% of tenancies are ended by the tenant.
David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA said: “This report puts paid to the idea that landlords spend their time looking for creative ways to evict their tenants. Most landlords ask their tenants to leave to protect their property. It would be a bizarre business model indeed to search for ways to get rid of your customers.
“The private rented sector can play a key role not just in housing the homeless but preventing people becoming homeless in the first place. Action is needed on a number of fronts to boost the supply of homes to rent to meet demand and reform the benefits and the court system to give confidence to both tenants and landlords.”
To view the full RLA article please click here.
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