UK Government must tackle rent debt crisis, housing groups warn

Propertymark, along with other organisations, has called on the UK Government to complete and publish a full assessment on how its decision to freeze Local Housing Allowance and cut Universal Credit has impacted renters.

During the pandemic, the Government took steps to prevent a housing debt crisis – which included the restoration of Local Housing Allowance rates and increasing the Universal Credit Personal Allowance. 

However, the number of private rented households in receipt of Universal Credit, including housing support, increased by almost 107 per cent between February 2020 and February 2021. Additionally, the UK Government confirmed that where households are struggling to make ends meet they have an average £100 per month gap between the housing support received and the rent they must pay.

To combat this, Propertymark and other organisations have suggested the UK Government reverse its decisions to cut Universal Credit and freeze the Local Housing Allowance. 

We are adding our voice to scrutinise these policies and highlight the serious issue of tenant debt. The impact on landlords is evident as many tenants are already struggling financially because of the pandemic. 

Agents are continuing to work with landlords and tenants to resolve rent issues where possible, however the freeze to Local Housing Allowance rates and the decision to cut Universal Credit, will simply exacerbate existing problems, risking tenancies which could otherwise be saved.

Nathan Emerson Chief Executive Officer | Propertymark
Read the joint statement