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Thousands of vulnerable Londoners face ‘the threat of eviction’

The government’s decision not to remove the cap on Universal Credit for all claimants and increase housing benefit to cover local median rent levels leaves thousands of renters in the capital facing potential eviction, according to Labour’s London Assembly. 

Labour’s London Assembly housing spokesperson, Murad Qureshi AM, has long warned that a failure to close gaps in the welfare system now, could lead to an increase in homelessness when the government’s temporary eviction ban is lifted next month. 

In June, Qureshi wrote to the secretary of state for work and pensions, Therese Coffey, calling for reforms to be made to Universal Credit and for Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to be raised to the 50th percentile, to cover the median rent level in any given area. 


He said that this will ensure that thousands of the most vulnerable Londoners could keep up with rent payments and manage arrears, coming out of the first Covid-19 outbreak.

The minister for welfare delivery, Will Quince, sent two responses to rebuff these calls. 

Both letters highlighted that the LHA rate has been raised to the 30th percentile, to cover the 30% lowest rents in an area, and that the cap on Universal Credit has been lifted on a temporary basis for some claimants meeting certain conditions.

Yet housing charity, Shelter, say that the current gap between the LHA rate and rents could still be more than £1,200 for some households in the capital.

Research carried out by Policy in Practice, commissioned by City Hall, has shown that the number of households in London hitting the benefit cap on Universal Credit has doubled amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.

City Hall analysis shows that the median rent of a one-bedroom home in London is more expensive than a three-bedroom home in every other region in England.

Last week, the mayor of London reissued his calls for the government to implement a triple-lock protection for renters, which includes an increase to welfare payments and the outlawing of the use of section 8 and section 21 notices to oust tenants who have built up rent arrears during the lockdown period.

Qureshi said:Despite the initial protections put in place for renters amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, thousands of the most vulnerable Londoners still have the threat of eviction hanging over their heads.

“It is clear that more needs to be done. I was curious to receive two separate, but very similar, responses to my letter from the minister. However, I am disappointed that neither made a commitment to further protections for renters.

“Doubling up on their responses could also indicate one of two things: either they are very keen to defend their failure to act or that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing at the DWP.

“It is only sensible that benefit payments should cover local average rents and that caps imposed on the welfare system are removed if they lead to more families being driven into poverty.

“If the government intends to stick to its ‘whatever it takes’ mantra, then raising housing benefit and removing the cap on Universal Credit for all claimants is the next logical step”.

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    Surely where someone is '' vulnerable '' isn't it the councils responsibility to house them

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    • 17 July 2020 14:47 PM

    Well, one thing I will say is that it certainly ain't gonna be me giving these people anything!!!!!!

  • Mark Wilson

    mr Crisp it’s a good thing only 3 people read these posts. Are you really as dreadful as you write?

    • 18 July 2020 17:06 PM

    Why dreadful. Just a realist trying to live in this awful liberalised and unfair environment.
    I am looking after No. 1 - And that is ME.


    Mr. Wilson,
    Fyi-More than 3 people read these posts🤨.
    Just wondering if you are working with Diane Abbott, and/or just another useless advisors feeding inaccurate data to Labour’s Housing Assembly, MHCLG and to the worst London Mayor.

    Mr. Crisp is absolutely correct.

    And as Mr. Andrew Townshend has pointed out - a vulnerable person is Council’s, Not a Private landlord’s responsibility.

    Private sector Landlords operate an honest business, without stealing money 💰 from govt. like Liebour Councils, and rubbish Mayor of London.

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    send them up north

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    • 18 July 2020 17:08 PM

    Terry - Yes.... A good idea for all the feckless, lazy, scrounging, thieving, cheap tenants should be sent up north, where they belong, or more likely that is where they came from. So send them back.

    QUICKLY is best too.


    Staggering ignorance. Whilst I may agree with you that people should pay for what they use, and it infuriates me that housing benefit doesn't just get paid directly, I can't condone moronic comments like this.

    However the vitriolic prejudice against people from the north is entirely unnecessary. I'm from Manchester, I lived in London, and I moved back pretty swiftly for several reasons. One being that most of the people in London were as insufferably arrogant and rude as yourself. Another being the dreadful work/life balance, paying exorbitant rents for substandard accommodation, often managed by clueless agents, most of whom speak barely a word of English, and the same can be said for many of the landlords. In my couple of years in London, I realised very quickly what a disastrous place it is. Its basically a foreign city, where a wealthy middle class minority manage to scrape together a standard of living which most people in the north would see as miserable at best, and all this is supported by a low income immigrant population who have turned parts of London into destitute, crime ridden hovels. Its a disgusting place and full of guardian readers and for any of them to try and lecture anyone outside of London is nothing short of hypocritical idiocy.

    I took a roughly 35% paycut moving back to Manchester, but I live in a much bigger house, drive my car to my office, which takes me 10 minutes as opposed to an hour, and I don't have to fight through crowds of people everyday. I have more disposable income at the end of every month. Even the air is noticeably cleaner up here. We definitely don't want swathes of Londoners being brought up here to ruin our cities as well.

    Wise up, and try not being so prepared to show your limited intelligence.

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    • 18 July 2020 17:58 PM


    Oh! Dear you really do live in an alternate world than the rest of us.
    Seriously do you honestly expect LL to charge less than achievable just so some feckless welfare scrounger can afford to live in a big city!?

    Tenants normally have to live according to their means.

    This was something that HB were able to do and which enabled them to live anywhere in London and receive in HB whatever the rent was.

    This meant that feckless welfare scroungers because of their effective welfare wage could afford to reside in expensive areas.

    Obviously this situation was unavailable for those who engaged in full time work and who inevitably had to commute long distances to reach work in London.

    Then eventually the Govt saw sense and determined to introduce some realism to the welfare wage.

    It has now been capped at reasonable though I consider still far too high amount.
    If I had my way welfare would be limited to what a single person on a minimum wage who also had to pay Council Tax would earn.

    That would be a fair welfare wage.
    Consequently as is the case with those not on welfare but on minimum wage they can't afford to live in expensive areas so they MOVE to cheaper areas.

    This financial discipline should be the same for welfare scroungers.

    The OBC does NOT include Council Tax support.
    It should be the case that all tenants whether on welfare or not are economically cleansed from expensive areas to cheaper ones.

    Or call it living within one's means.

    People moving from expensive to cheaper areas has always occurred but not always to those on welfare as they have had their unrealistic fantasy welfare wage paid to achieve a lifestyle far in excess of what hard working people have been able to achieve.

    Those on welfare are still in the upper 25% of income earners in the UK.
    It remains the case that if the feckless lazy welfare scrounger does 16 hrs of work per week then the OBC is lifted and any welfare required is granted.

    This is why you see Romanian gypsies selling the Big Issue.
    Apparently it qualifies as a job.
    They aren't stupid.
    They know that for just 16 hrs sitting in a High St that there is no OBC for them.
    The OBC is an ENTIRELY appropriate welfare wage cap.
    If median rents outstrip the welfare wage in certain areas then the welfare scrounger will need to move to cheaper areas just like someone not on welfare may have to do.

    My views are the views of most of the population and certainly most LL.

    You seem to have your own little bubble of a fantasy world.
    You seem to support unlimited welfare so that welfare scroungers can afford to live a lifestyle not open to normal workers.

    Why should a welfare scrounger who can't even be bothered to do 16hrs work to evade the OBC be given even more welfare so they can stay in expensive areas!!??

    As for this scaremongering of eviction.
    Due to the the totally DYSFUNCTIONAL eviction system and massive backlog in cases it will be about 2 years from August this year before any tenants the LL wishes evicted will be so.

    Inevitably for those LL experiencing rent defaulting tenants they will be bankrupted by lenders repossessing long before an inevitable 2 year eviction process has concluded.

    Of course many LL will try to retain their properties by doing whatever they can to keep paying the mortgage in the absence of rent.

    But for many LL this will be impossible and they would need to sell.
    But of course they can't sell with a rent defaulting tenant still occupying.
    So a lender will repossess bankrupting and making homeless many LL and of course the tenant.
    And you seem to support this!!

    For many LL such an intolerable situation won't be acceptable and many rent defaulting tenants for whatever reason will find themselves signing a tenancy surrender document before being escorted from the premises mostly during the dead of night!!

    LL will simply not allow themselves to be bankrupted by feckless rent defaulting tenants.

    There are plenty of affordable rental properties in crappy godforsaken Northern towns.
    That is where the welfare scroungers from the big cities should go.
    The properties are perfectly decent and affordable within the OBC.

    It is just TOUGH if these welfare scroungers have to move to these cheaper areas.
    They will create their own new communities which are only as they are due to economics.
    Reduced welfare and higher median rents must inevitably mean the welfare scroungers have to MOVE.

    The answer is NOT to increase welfare wages to then have the ability to live in those expensive areas.
    You seem to believe this should be the case.
    I'm sure the rest of the population would love a wage increase to live in expensive areas.
    However back in the real world there won't be many pay increases for many for the next 10 years at least.
    You seem to believe the welfare scrounger should be ring-fenced from hard economic reality.
    You are very much in a minority who believes such bonkers ideas.

    • 18 July 2020 19:40 PM

    @Paul Barrett

    Absolutely correct and so true.

    And I would be the first to forcibly remove the slime from my property if it meant my property was repossessed through no fault of mine.

    With whatever means. Complete with their belongings and children in the middle of the night if needs be.

    My business is there to protect my family too. Whatever the consequences.

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    • 18 July 2020 19:27 PM

    Londoners threat eviction!!!!!
    Well if they have not paid their rent, than so be it.

    They go...And fast as possible and they should also have a CCG against them too, to pay back the lost rent.

    And why not? It is fair. They would have used my recourses, and not paid for them.

    Please tell me in what other industry that happen.

    They MUST be forced to pay for what hey have used...

    Maybe Sainsburys will allow me to just go to their stores, take what foods I want, and walk out.

    Would that be allowed?


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    • 18 July 2020 20:38 PM

    I'm afraid that society seems to believe it is perfectly acceptable to be a rent defaulting tenant and still stay for free until EVENTUALLY evicted.
    This is simply an untenable state of affairs for most mortgaged LL.

    The State is effectively colluding with deviant tenants to potentially deprive a LL of his private asset.

    I'm sure this would be against a LL human rights!?

    But it seems the State is perfectly content to see LL repossessed and bankrupted through no fault of their own.

    How have we come to this state of affairs.

    Effectively millions of tenants poncing off private LL capital sanctioned by Govt!!

    I just DON'T understand how this can be allowed.


    P. Barrett,
    Absolutely true!

    Private Landlords and their family’s Human Rights are being ignored by Shelter, London Mayor, and Labour as well as Liberals housing advisors & current govt.

    Rogue and DSS tenants costs are making LL’s face bankruptcy & suffering from stress resultant mental health due to unfair Govt policies.

    But there is no organisation to support LL’s/their family’s human rights. Unless LL’s themselves become homeless - Shelter, Council or the Govt won’t support them.
    Clearly there is a gap for an influential group working with cunning lawyers, barristers to help protect PRS Landlords Human rights.
    More so an immediate law is required to protect Landlords Human rights against rogue tenants, shelter, and rogue councils housing teams by empowering Police to help LL’s evict tenants after an eviction notice period’s expiry without any requirements of an expensive court hearing, order, and secondary order, eviction by bailiffs.

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    • 19 July 2020 19:09 PM

    Unfortunately for private LL the eviction process is actually scheduled to become a lot worse

    It is a simple fact that unless you are successful in EVERY tenant selection there will be a distinct possibility of being bankrupted by the increasingly dysfunctional eviction process.

    This as there are NO honourable tenants.
    Those that choose not to pay rent know that the dysfunctional eviction process protects them and can actually enable them to save substantial amounts of money if they DON'T bother paying rent.

    I'm afraid that the eviction process will NEVER be made fair for LL.

    If LL like me cannot cope with the losses that rent defaulting tenants would cause then they have little alternative than to sell up or at least put themselves in a position where rent defaulting tenants won't cause future drastic financial damage.

    RGI seems no longer viable due to ridiculous new clauses which makes such policies useless.

    I'm afraid mortgaged LL are now taking massive financial risks due to the dysfunction of the eviction process.

    I totally agree with you that the eviction should be adjusted as you suggest.
    But you and I know this will NEVER occur.

    We just have to accept that will remain the case.
    Whether we wish to remain exposed to such devastating risks is for each LL to decide.

    But all mortgaged LL especially must be aware of the dysfunctional eviction process as the major threat to their business.

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    • 19 July 2020 19:30 PM

    @James Smith

    Seems sarcasm has not yet reached beyond Peterborough.

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    Thousands of Vulnerable Landlords faced with Bankruptcy but but no Support from Shelter and what do Shelter mean by £1200 of a gap between LHA rate & rents, is it a month or a year or what it makes no sense to me. I think Council pays very good money that I can't achieve privately and with 80% of my Tenants now in arrears mainly due to what Government said, probably never again will want to pay full rent, where as people on Benefits are immune, only people that work & pay tax have a problem and at least the Benefit LL's are getting the money no wonder they are so full of themselves.

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    We're handling ( more than one ) case at the moment where the Tenant is 4 months in arrears, claiming Covid reasons.
    Landlord had to wait 2 months before able to claim from U.C. - which instead of their stated 3 weeks, is taking 7 to 8 due to increased claimants.
    We also learned that Tenant has been receiving his FULL rent as the Housing allowance part of his U.C.
    When Govt make it a criminal offence of fraud to not use the Tax-payers money for the purpose it was paid ( i.e - RENT ) there will always be a shortage of accommodation for the majority of Benefit tenants, whatever cases Shelter bring. They would better serve the majority of tenants if they supported them, rather than the 'feckless' Rent-dodgers.

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    • 19 July 2020 22:11 PM

    In cheaper parts of the UK LHA is roughly the same as market rents and some cases even more!

    It makes eminent sense in such cases for LL to take on HB tenants as they are effectively ring-fenced from reality.

    This means LL shouldn't face the hazard of rent defaulting tenants that would be the case with normal working tenants.

    This situation only pertains inside the SE where market rents usually vastly exceed HB rents.

    It is the SE LL that is most exposed to bankruptcy.

    My rents are £800 more than the LHA rate.
    No way would it be viable for me to take on HB tenants.
    Indeed I currently have a vacant property.
    I would rather sell it than take on an uneconomic HB tenant.

    Indeed I may well take advantage of the demand for scarce property for sale and take the opportunity to offload one of mine at a very high retail price.

    At least then I will have got rid of one of properties.
    Then only 3 more to go.
    Rid myself of ever needing tenants.
    Lodgers not a problem but no more tenants.

    The eviction problem is an insurmountable one.


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