CIH calls for end to private rented housing benefits freeze

30 Aug 18

The government must end the freeze on private rent housing benefits to help low income tenants cover their rent, a housing group has urged.

More than 90% of Local Housing Allowance rates across Britain now fail to cover the cheapest rents, according to a report out yesterday from the Chartered Institute of Housing.

LHA rates, the housing benefit for private renters, were frozen in 2016 for four years and the CIH warned that renting has become unaffordable for low income tenants, putting them at risk of homelessness.

CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat said: “Our research makes it clear just how far housing benefit for private renters has failed to keep pace with even the cheapest private rents.

“We fear this policy is putting thousands of private renters on low incomes at risk of poverty and homelessness.

“We are calling on the UK government to conduct an immediate review and to look at ending the freeze on Local Housing Allowance.”

The institute said that renters will be forced to choose between paying for basic necessities like food and heating or their rent.

Renters in parts of London are facing gaps of more than £260 a month on one to four bedroom homes, according to the CIH report.

Matt Downie, director of policy and external affairs at homeless charity Crisis, said the findings showed that people were “stuck in a desperate situation”.

He added: “The government must urgently reform housing benefits for private renters, so they not only match the true cost of renting but also keep pace with future rent changes.”

A government spokesperson said: “We spend £24bn a year on housing benefit each year.

“And since April we have provided additional, targeted hosuing support for low-income households by increasing more than 200 local housing allowance rates.”

Read the CIH’s David Pipe’s blog for PF on the government’s “unambitious” social housing green paper.


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