A welcome U-turn on the housing benefit cap for supported housing still leaves private tenants to face crippling rents and being turfed out on the streets
The government is set to drop plans to cap housing benefit for people living in social rented accommodation, Theresa May has announced.
From April 2019 the amount they get was to be made the same as those in private rented homes.
Housing benefits in Scotland will be paid out more frequently and more flexibly than the rest of the UK in the first phase of welfare reforms implemented by ministers in Edinburgh.
Tenants who receive help with rent through the universal credit system, including those in private rented housing, can opt for the payment to go directly to their landlord. In some areas, they will be allowed to claim it every fortnight rather than monthly.
It used to be “No blacks, no Irish, no dogs”, now it’s “No DSS, no pets, no children”. Check out the rental listings on websites such as Rightmove, or press your nose against the window of your local lettings agent, and you will often see “No DSS”. It means the landlord or agent won’t rent a property to someone on housing benefit or local housing allowance, though some younger readers might not even know what “DSS” stands for (it’s Department of Social Security, and was replaced by the Department for Work and Pensions 16 years ago).
Private landlords in the UK received twice as much in housing benefit last year - £9.3bn - as they did a decade ago, a report says.
The National Housing Federation (NHF) study said the increase was due to a big rise in the number of private tenants claiming housing benefit.
The NHF said this particular group of people had grown by 42% since 2008.
Around 16% of council homes that have been sold by ten local authorities under Right to Buy have been to tenants on housing benefit.
The government spent £24bn on housing benefit in 2014. More than half of claimants under 35 are single mothers and many live in deprived coastal towns
It is not unlawful discrimination for an agent or landlord to refuse to let to a prospective tenant who is on benefit.
Receipt of benefits is not one of the protected characteristics as set out in the Equality Act 2010.
A new paper, placed in the House of Commons library this week, specifically addresses the issue of letting to benefit claimants.
It says there are a number of reasons why landlords do not let to claimants: they associate them with rent arrears, anti-social behaviour and damage to property.
A key concern is that Local Housing Allowance is paid to claimants, not landlords. The claimants are trusted to pass the money to their landlords, rather than spend it on other things.
Housing projects helping more than 400,000 vulnerable adults face closure because of government welfare cuts, analysis on behalf of Labour suggests.
Housing benefit changes leave some children hungry and stressed at school and need a rethink, says a small study.
Since 2013, households deemed to have "spare" rooms lose benefit, with children of the same sex under 16 expected to share bedrooms.
A survey finds that of the landlords who currently let to people on benefits, more than half say they won't after the roll-out of universal credit
Opt in here