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Shocking statistics for unregulated rental accommodation

Over 150,000 households in Britain are in ‘exempt’ accommodation, a rental sector which some say is “dangerously under-regulated.”

‘Exempt accommodation’ is intended for people with support needs, including those who have been homeless, recently left prison, fled domestic violence or are dealing with addiction issues.

The housing is supposed to come with additional support, which makes it ‘exempt’ from caps on Local Housing Allowance to cover the costs. 


This allows providers to charge higher rents, which are covered 100 per cent by the Department of Work and Pensions through Housing Benefit.

However the homeless charity Crisis claims that due to a lack of regulation, many exempt providers are abusing the system for financial gain: providing little or no support, whilst leaving tenants in poorly managed, often dangerous accommodation.

Freedom of Information data obtained by Crisis shows that 153,701 households in Great Britain were housed in exempt accommodation as of May 2021. 

This represents a 62 per cent increase from 2016 to 2021.

Through a separate FOI, it's been revealed that at least £816m was spent by government on exempt accommodation in the last financial year alone.


Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, says: “The exempt accommodation sector is dangerously under-regulated. There are some good providers out there, but so many others are motivated only by money and are able to charge higher rents for essential support they have no intention of providing.

“It is unacceptable that the system lets them get away with it. People trying to end their homelessness, fleeing domestic abuse or tackling complex addiction issues are being forced from one trauma to another – all at huge expense to the public purse. 

“We desperately need stronger regulation to keep the wrong people out of the sector and ensure that quality support and accommodation is provided to people in some of the most vulnerable circumstances.”

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  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    About time tenant campaigners looked at other housing sectors instead of their myopic and vitriolic focus on the PRS.
    Social and Council housing get a free ride ( at the expense of their tenants with little or no attention, let alone meaningful sanction.
    Social Housing Regulator ( and its system ) is a Joke.


    Just read in the local paper Norwich city council has screwed shut the windows in an 8th floor flat because they don't know how to repair them, no extractor fan in the kitchen so the flat is full of condensation , social housing really is a joke

  • icon

    Looks like the penny may be starting to drop. The PRS with decent law abiding landlords and hard working compliant letting agents are not the problem. The same cannot be said for the wilful neglect in the social housing sector.
    I would suggest that we need separate Housing Act legislation for the PRS and social housing, with the latter requiring the main focus of future legislation.

  • icon

    Wiell said Possession Friend, Andrew and John. But will it happen I am very sceptical
    Jim Haliburton
    The HMO Daddy


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