The campaign group, Generation Rent, has reported that over 50% of private renters are now using Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to help them pay their rent. And 20% of families don’t receive enough support from the Government to pay their rent in full, so they need to make up this shortfall themselves.
Up by 23% since February, benefits are now propping up the rental market, with 910K families now using benefits to support paying rent for their homes. This is a crisis.
These families are not people who were on benefits when they started renting their homes, indeed 21% of private renters that are receiving benefits are in homes which are considerably more expensive than what they can afford. Generation Rent reports that families are having to cut costs, use their savings or get into debt just to make ends meet.
Bedroom Tax (where spare rooms are counted against you and reduces your Housing Benefit) is also affecting these families who may have been able to afford their larger homes, without support, before the pandemic hit.
But, there is some hope for these families.
Campaigners are lobbying the Government to make the increase in Universal Credit (an extra £20 per week) a permanent change and recommending that Housing Benefits be increased to accommodate for these families as well. In addition, there are calls for scrapping benefits caps, and wiping debt caused by rent arrears (which would be good news for tenants and landlords alike).
If you or your tenants have been affected by the pandemic and you need to speak with someone, our team are on hand. Get in touch today to speak with an expert property manager.