8:10 AM, 1st February 2014, About 7 years ago 6
With social housing more reliant on the private sector than ever before, it must be time for the government to start building council houses as a priority. Council waiting lists for housing according to Shelter are approaching 2 million and waiting times to get re-housed are running at 9-20 years in some areas, it’s no wonder we are in crisis.
Currently we are struggling to build over 100,000 homes a year. A recent report by the Institute For Public Policy Research says it we continue to build at the current levels by 2025 England will have built 450,00 fewer homes than are needed to meet current demand.
At present a staggering £23 Billion is being spent on housing benefit. Yes some landlords have benefited, and in a minority of cases have charged over-inflated rents. However with an ever changing system starting with direct payment to tenants (introduced in 2008, and which we actively campaigned against) to the introduction of rent-capping, and now the much maligned Universal Credit, the private rental sector is needed more than ever. This is a big concern to us at Landlord Action. A recent story featured on the BBC, that I was involved in, highlighted dramatically some of the key issues. A tenant in receipt of benefit deliberately withheld payment and refused to pass it on to the landlord. We have subsequently been instructed to evict this tenant and collect the arrears. This type of situation is becoming all too common and is bad for anyone.
One of the key issues I have identified in speaking to landlords on a daily basis,especially small landlords, is that more and more of them are now experiencing arrears and this is causing a lot of frustration. Many landlords are fed up of persistent payment problems and have subsequently decided they no longer wish to rent their properties to housing benefit claimants. This ultimately means less property for rent and also tarnishes the reputation of the majority of housing benefit tenants who manage their finances responsibly and may need to move to new properties as their circumstances change.
To me is a no-brainer. The government needs to start building social housing again as soon as possible to promote growth, jobs and equality.
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