Duncan Lewis

Romford Office

Crime and Civil cases

house 40 staff

Even one percent benefit cap would increase in homelessness says association of landlords

Date: (8 January 2013)    |    

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The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has suggested that a vote in favour of capping benefits was a vote for rising homelessness.
Speaking ahead of a crucial Commons vote later today the RLA warned that such a move was likely to increase the number of people who become homeless.
The benefit caps were first announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. The legislation coming for a vote seeks to cap benefit increases at one percent rather than going up in line with inflation.
The RLA has argued that such a cap would not be sustainable and would lead to many tenants finding themselves unable to pay their rents and thereby facing eviction, even though landlords have seen a real terms cut in rental levels.
Based on figures from the Government’s Valuation Office Agency, the average rent in England for the 12 months to September 2012 was 1.29 per cent higher than in the preceding 12 months, below the 2.2 per cent Consumer Price Index increase over the same period, the organisation said.
Even with rents increasing by mere 1.29 per cent, it added that those on benefits facing a one per cent cap on the rise in their benefits would face added difficulties in affording their rent.

Almost a quarter of tenants in the private rented sector were in receipt of housing benefits, including some that were in work, according to Alan Ward, the RLA’s chairman. Even as landlords have kept rent increases well below inflation this still wouldn’t be sufficient for benefit claimants facing a one per cent cap on the increase in their benefits.
Shelter the charity for homeless has reported that 1.4 million people were falling behind with payments on their rents or mortgages. The Government’s reforms would serve only to increase the number of families struggling to cope.
With homeless charity Crisis also pointing to young, single people on benefits being able to access just 1.5 per cent of rental properties available, it is clear that the housing benefit changes are having a severe impact on those in desperate need of housing.