Families on the lowest incomes face a shortfall of thousands of pounds on their rent each year, raising serious concerns about rising homelessness. The situation is even worse in Welsh cities, where families on the lowest incomes are facing impossibly difficult situations as they try to find £4,269 above and beyond housing benefits to bridge the gap between benefits and the real renting costs of a three-bed urban home.
The Homes for All Cymru alliance brings together a range of organisations who all have a widely shared concern that housing benefit is failing to give people the support they need.
Greatest impact on the most vulnerable
Data analysis by Crisis and Zoopla shows that over the last financial year, only 2% of rental homes on the market in Wales were advertised within housing benefit rates. They also show that across the country, households on the lowest incomes and in receipt of housing benefits are left struggling to scrape together between £1,555 and £3,013 just to keep up with their rental payments each year.
The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry to help inform current and future UK Government thinking on the adequacy of benefits and is also looking at the relationship between social security and the labour market.
LHA lagging years behind
Propertymark has long called for LHA to be set to at least the 30th percentile, if not the 50th percentile, and increased annually to keep up with market rents.
Current LHA rates have been frozen since 2020. Drawing on research by the Bevan Foundation in Wales and Centrepoint in England, Propertymark highlighted the glaring gap this has created in our response to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee inquiry to help inform current and future UK Government thinking on the adequacy of benefits and is also looking at the relationship between social security and the labour market.
PRS is a key stakeholder
Propertymark has consistently stressed that the Department for Works and Pensions should engage more with landlords and recognise they are stakeholders in the housing allowance scheme.
The demand for rented property continues to outstrip supply in a highly competitive market. Evidence from Propertymark members showed that demand was up 32% in August 2023 compared to the previous year.
Benefits are not keeping up with rising rent, and further pressure has been placed on the PRS because of low social housing stock, leading to vulnerable tenants being priced out of the market.