In November 2010 the government announced the controversial
new cuts which were to be made to housing benefit
we saw this come into force across the country from
April this year. These
cuts saw thousands of households in receipt of Local
Housing Allowance (LHA) who pay rent to a private
landlord facing losses of more than £50 a month.
The decision was widely criticised by homeless charities
and housing associations alike.
Chancellor Mr Osborne justified these cuts by saying
“We now spend more on housing benefit than we
do on the police and universities”
impact of these cuts were felt by every region across
the country with the hardest hit being the South East
where households saw a loss of £100 a month.
present these cuts will only affect tenants making
new claims, anyone who has been in receipt of LHA,
in the same property on the same tenancy and has had
no changes to their claim will not be affected until
the changes come across the board in January 2012,
this will give existing tenants time to adjust their
circumstances and either find alternative cheaper
accommodation or negotiate a lower rent with their
cuts have seen an obvious spiral with people becoming
trapped in an endless cycle of debt, arrears and eviction,
these circumstances could change the face of Cities
and rural areas alike, with London being hardest hit
as an estimated 93% of rents have become unaffordable
for private tenants relying on housing benefit, pushing
people on lower incomes into pockets of deprivation
in areas with the cheapest housing, and with some
less scrupulous landlords preying on the more vulnerable
households knowing that people will be forced to rent
a property at a lower rent just to have a roof over
their head, this in turn has seen a return of rogue
landlords who do not maintain their properties to
a good standard because they know there is a huge
demand for the lower priced properties.
more concerning point is that the government fully
acknowledged the impending impact of these cuts on
peoples ability to pay their rent and the very real
possibility that this would see a rise in homelessness,
yet to date they have not put in place any contingency
plans to help safeguard against these problems.
the government is not done with the Private rental
sector (PRS) just yet, 1st January 2012 will see further
changes to LHA.