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Clear 700,000 private tenants’ arrears, demand Generation Rent

Generation Rent campaign activists say 700,000 private tenants on Universal Credit cannot afford to pay their rent.

The campaign - led by Baroness Alicia Kennedy - says new figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show 715,326 households in Great Britain could not cover their rent in full with the Local Housing Allowance they received.

It claims this is a 45 per cent rise since February last year while over the same period the number of private renter households receiving Universal Credit increased 85 per cent.


Generation Rent says 40 per cent of private renters now rely on either Universal Credit or Housing Benefit and according to a statement this means “many invariably live in homes that cost more than the state provides.”

Now the campaign is calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to take action in next week’s Budget to clear the arrears.

Baroness Kennedy says: “Every one of these households faces an impossible choice every month to pay the rent, borrow, or go without essentials. 

“The government’s inadequate support for private renters is pushing families deeper and deeper into debt, with homelessness and destitution awaiting once the crisis of the pandemic clears. 


“Next week Rishi Sunak must act decisively to end the rent debt crisis, and bring peace of mind to private renters who have been hit the hardest by the economic shock.”

The Baroness also has a raft of other demands, including wanting the government to create a Covid Rent Debt Fund to clear rent arrears and compensate landlords for 80 per cent of rental income, suspending Section 21 evictions, and boosting in Local Housing Allowance rates “to make sure that tenants on reduced incomes can keep a roof over their heads.”

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  • icon

    Does this idiot realise the harm she's doing to any tenants on UC, or even any working tenants slightly in arrears?

    Who is going to pay for writing off arrears.

    If I can't afford something then I have to do without it. It's called living within my means

  • Philip Drake

    I interpret that the Baroness is suggesting the government pays the landlord 80% of the arrears amount and hence write off 100% of the arrears. Ie HMG pays 80% and LLs absorb 20% of the arrears. Tenants become debt free.
    That’s not too bad. It’s better than the current situation.

    I think HMG should now recognise that UC housing payments being paid to the tenant to pass on to the landlord does not work as a means of allowing tenants to become more responsible. Instead HMG housing payments should go direct to the landlord. If the tenant is found to have obtained this benefit fraudulently, then the council needs to seek to recoup the benefit payments back from the tenant, ie not the landlord. The landlord is not culpable for tenant benefit fraud.

    Section 21s are the least cost/certain way for Landlords to regain possession of their property, usually due to the tenant building up enormous arrears or damaging the property or antisocial behaviour. Also they are sometimes requested by tenants as a last hope to get a council house.
    Rarely is a Section 21 issued for no reason.

    Perhaps breakdown of the relationship between landlords and tenants need to be referred, not to the courts, but in the first instance to an independent arbiter. This arbiter could have the power to force the local authority to either rehouse and/or pay arrears due. Landlords are not providing a charitable service, that is down to the local authority.

  • icon

    Part of the problem is the the LHA fuels rent rises - so rents go up, LHA goes up and rents go up again!
    When the Govt took the brakes of fLHA rises as a response to the pandemic, rents shot up again snd so tenants continue to struggle to pay.

    The solution is more affordable housing but successive Govts have failed to address the lack of building and we are in the sorry state we are.


    affordable housing is an oxymoron

    its a scam

  • James B

    So the great unwashed on one hand jump up and down UC tenants can’t pay their rent but in their next campaign they want landlords to accept them no questions asked ! Just shows how ludicrous their requests are

  • icon

    James, we leave ''the great unwashed'' to the local council, why would we want them?

    James B

    Correct we just need to manoeuvre round the likes of shelter hunting landlords and agents down who dare to reject them ... simple give another reason. This is why government and councils support the likes of shelter as they help them with waiting lists of tenants they can’t / don’t want to house either
    We don’t want the great unwashed with their pickets outside our offices or shelter taking us to court with their deep funded pockets, just need to be smart about it all


    Ban smokers and you ban most benefit claimants (and other potential problem tenants) anyway but without getting any associated hassle.

  • icon

    The Council are so desperate to get rid of section 21, why don't they just say so instead of blaming the LL. We all know its has been abused by Tenants to get Housed and jump the queue, don't know why the Council put themselves in a position to guarantee to house people intentionally homeless, most people arriving at the Council Civic Centers waving a Section 21 has done something or abusing the Government System. I have been to LL meetings where LL's told the meeting the Tenants had come to them with all the paper work ready for LL to sign, if he didn't sign its God help him after that.


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