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4 January 2012

LHA changes impact 1.3 million private tenants

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by Gill Montia

LHA changes impact 1.3 million private tenants

Benefit reforms taking effect from 1st January could leave over a million low income families with shortfalls in their rent payments, according to the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).

New research from the Institute also suggests that across the UK rents on over 800,000 homes are no longer viable for low income families because of changes in the way Local Housing Allowance is calculated and new caps on the benefit.

An estimated 720,000 homes have become unaffordable in England, a further 60,000 in Scotland and 30,000 in Wales.

The gap is most noticeable in London and the South East, where over a quarter of a million homes are no longer within the reach of housing benefit claimants.

Capital cities in all regions of the UK are also severely affected and the CIH argues that the changes will actually force people to move from areas where there are jobs, to areas where the employment outlook is bleak.

CIH interim chief executive, Grainia Long, comments: “This could mean that more than 1.3 million private tenants face the New Year with dread, confronted with an uncomfortable prospect of homelessness or debt.”

She adds: “Low income families could move to more affordable areas, creating ‘benefit ghettoes’, and resulting in increased social disorder and a breakdown in community cohesion.”

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