Tenant News

Universal Credit and Housing Benefit support announced for renters

Em Morley - March 24, 2020

The Government has made the decision to ensure the Local Housing Allowance is guaranteed to cover at least 30% of market rents in a claimant’s area. This has been recognised as a vital measure to support tenants and landlords. 

Combined with grants to cover up to 80% of wages, this package will go a long way to sustain tenancies.

In a joint statement, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and the National Landlords Association (NLA) have said: “We warmly welcome today’s announcement by the Chancellor. It will give tenants and landlords much greater confidence that rents can be paid through the ongoing crisis which is clearly preferable to deferring rents through rent payment holidays.

“We will continue to work constructively with the Government to ensure everything possible is done to support tenants and landlords through these difficult times.”

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of homelessness charity Crisis, said: “We warmly welcome the steps Government are taking to create a proper safety net through the welfare system that protects families from losing their homes.

“The move to increase housing benefit so that it covers the bottom third of rents will ensure that people are not pushed into homelessness during this outbreak. The need for this cannot be understated – families must have the security of a safe, permanent home.

Dan Wilson Craw, Director of Generation Rent, comments: “The Government’s package of support for business should hopefully result in fewer redundancies. But many renters have told us they have already been laid off and will struggle to pay next month’s rent.

“Combined with the pledge to suspend evictions, raising LHA to cover the bottom 30% of homes will make a difference to many who are losing income.

“But the five-week wait to claim Universal Credit will push people into arrears, and the increased housing element is not enough to overcome the shortfalls those who are paying higher rents will face. 

“To assure renters who won’t benefit from the job retention scheme, the government must make Universal Credit available at the point of need, raise LHA to at least the average rent, and stop landlords raising rents during the crisis.”