Singles forced to share as benefit rules change

Singles forced to share as benefit rules change

11:30 AM, 1st April 2011, About 13 years ago 1

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Shared house landlords can expect a surge in inquiries from tenants as the government changes the rules on paying housing benefit to singles.

From January, singles aged under 35-years-old can only ask for cash to cover sharing a room in a house in multiple occupation (HMO) rather than self-contained housing. 

The change is likely to affect around 90,000 singles aged 25 – 34 years old who will have to give up their homes to seek shared housing.

The government expects almost all to find homes in private rented housing.

The upheaval will create a massive demand for shared housing at the same time as councils in around 25 large towns and cities are taking on powers to curb the development of shared houses.

A group of councils led by Milton Keynes is mounting a legal challenge in the High Court to try and force the government to give them more powers to control the development of shared houses.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) claims the government figure hugely underestimates the problem as the latest English Housing Survey reveals the figure is nearer 1.16 million tenants in the age group.

RLA policy director Richard Jones said: “This move comes at a time when because of a power granted to them by the Government, many councils are restricting the amount of shared accommodation available, particularly in our large cities where most young people want or need to live.”

“We find it illogical that whilst the Government increases the number of people who will be forced into shared housing, councils across the country are looking to use new planning powers to restrict its availability resulting in many young people struggling to find somewhere to live.

“The Government is simply failing to practice joined up thinking. We therefore call on the Government to suspend the planning powers and remove restrictions on creating the increase in shared accommodation that is going to be required.”

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10:34 AM, 4th April 2011, About 13 years ago

This will no doubt become another issue for Shelter to deal with. Which makes me wonder again why they do not see Landlords as allies rather than bringing the profession down with ill-targetted publicity.

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