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Tenants ‘pushed into poverty by benefit cuts' say landlords

The National Residential Landlords Association has joined a series of charities and Propertymark to warn about the poverty risk of expected changes to benefits.

The government admits that in England, Scotland and Wales, the number of private rented households in receipt of Universal Credit with an entitlement to housing support as part of the payment has increased by almost 107 per cent from 746,694 in February 2020 to 1,545,024 in February 2021.

And as of February 2021, over 55 per cent of these households (858,606) have a gap between their housing cost support and the rent they had to pay.


The NRLA has linked with Shelter, The Mortgage Works, Nationwide, Crisis, The Big Issue and others to issue a lengthy statement about their concern over benefit cuts.

Here is it in full:

The UK Government must complete and publish a full assessment of the impact on renters of their decisions to freeze Local Housing Allowance and cut Universal Credit, which risk pushing many households into poverty, problem debt, and homelessness.

In the wake of the pandemic, we saw bold and swift action from the Government to prevent a housing debt crisis including restoring Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of market rents and increasing the Universal Credit Personal Allowance.

With the economic impact of the pandemic increasing the financial strain on families, across the country the number of private rented households in receipt of the housing element of Universal Credit increased by 107 per cent between February 2020 and February 2021. Over 55 per cent of these households have a shortfall between the housing support they receive and the rent they have to pay.

The UK Government has confirmed that where such shortfalls exist, the median amount is £100 a month. This points to a need for continued support for families and individuals to cover the cost of rents. Yet since April this year, Local Housing Allowance has been frozen in cash terms, and later this year, Universal Credit will be cut by £20 a week.

Whilst the Institute for Fiscal Studies has described changes to Local Housing Allowance as “arbitrary and unfair” we have seen no assessment from the UK Government of the impact either of these policies will have on the capacity of recipients to cover rent payments.

As organisations representing landlords, letting agents, tenants, people facing homelessness, and debt advice services, we are united in calling on the UK Government to complete and publish a full assessment of the impact of both of these policies on the ability of renters to meet their housing costs.

We believe that the UK Government should reverse its decisions to cut Universal Credit and to freeze Local Housing Allowance. To apply policies like these without doing any meaningful impact assessment is, we argue, lacking the necessary foresight and consideration of the impact they will have on people’s security of tenure and well-being and for many will threaten their chance of recovery.

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    Just rename it NRTA and be done with it. Get them to pay your annual fees

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    LHA fuels rent rises as is is tied to average rent. Look how rents jumped when the Govt reversed its cuts to LHA in April 2020. The only way to reduce the burden of rent on tenants claiming LHA is to increase the stock of affordable housing.


    Agreed. Government meddling never helps.

    Look at the ridiculous failure of energy caps.

    The £2k car scrapage scheme just increased new car prices by at least £2k.

    Every Green Deal scheme has been disastrous.

    Leave things to market forces.

    I totally agree that reducing the shortage of rental homes is the only way to reduce market rents.

    Making the prs unattractive for private landlords just adds to the problem. The NRLA should do what it's paid to do and focus on this last bit!

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    Agreed Robert this is what always happens with interference and Schemes it distorts the Market, that hasn’t changed. I remember the Enterprise Zones in the 1960’s like Skelmersdale in Lancashire when big Companies, Courtalls, Plesseys etc got tax incentives for seven years to set up business there, Jackson’s build lovely 2 storey red brick houses with gardens, ideal family homes (for £4K each), but what happened next when the tax concession finished the Companies pullout, so it went from a lovey booming place to house being boarded up with plywood on the windows, heart break for residents.


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