William Eichler 01 April 2022

Landlords call for ‘absurd’ housing benefit freeze to be lifted

Landlords call for ‘absurd’ housing benefit freeze to be lifted image
Image: fizkes/Shutterstock.com.

Landlords have called on the Government to unfreeze the Local Housing Allowance to cover the average rent.

Official data suggests that 56% of private renters relying on Universal Credit have an average gap of £100 a month between the amount they receive in housing cost support and the rents they pay, reports the National Association of Residential Landlords (NRLA).

Almost 60% of renters with two children relying on Universal Credit to help pay their rent have a shortfall between their rent and the benefits they receive.

Regionally, the proportion of tenants affected ranged from just over 40% in London (although based on a much higher number of claimants) to over 68% in Wales.

The Local Housing Allowance is used to calculate the amount tenants can receive to support housing costs as part of a Universal Credit payment. In response to the pandemic the Government lifted it in April 2020 so that it covered the bottom 30% of private rents in any given area.

In April last year the rate was frozen in cash terms.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, said: ‘It is simply absurd that housing benefit support fails to reflect the reality of rents as they currently stand. All the freeze is doing is exacerbating the already serious cost of living crisis.

‘The Chancellor needs to listen and respond to the concerns of both renters and landlords and unfreeze housing benefits as a matter of urgency.’

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