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24 July 2010

LHA changes leave tenants and landlords at risk of arrears

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by Gill Montia

LHA changes leave tenants and landlords at risk of arrears

A charity is claiming that over 750,000 tenants are at risk of losing their homes in London and the south east because of caps on Housing Benefit being introduced next year.

From April 2011, the maximum Local Housing Allowance (LHA) payable for each property size will be capped, as will full receipt of the benefit for claimants who can be expected to look for work.

In addition changes will be made to the percentile of market rents used to calculate LHA and any rate rises will be calculated using the Consumer Price Index, a lower measure of inflation than the Retail Prices Index currently used.

According to research from the National Housing Federation (NHF) the changes could force low income families out of large parts of London and the south east, and will leave 425,000 people in London and 326,250 people in the south east at risk of losing their homes.

The Federation is calling for the Government to set up a poverty commission to look at the impact of Housing Benefit cuts on the poor, saying it is vital that ministers acknowledge just how catastrophic the changes could be.

According to the body, some will look to move to cheaper housing but there will not be enough within the cap levels to go around.

The NHF therefore predicts that many will quickly fall into arrears and be evicted.


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