Vulnerable renters are facing ‘a perfect cost of living storm’, said the National Residential Landlords Association in a call on the Government to unfreeze housing benefit rates.
The move would provide both tenants and landlords with the assurance they need that rents can be paid, it said.
Despite private rents increasing at a lower rate than inflation, official data showed that of all private rented households in receipt of the Local Housing Allowance, over half, had a monthly shortfall between their housing benefit payment and their rent. With 57 per cent of tenants in this position, this amounted to just over 820,000 UK households.
The crisis is being made worse by the housing benefit freeze that has been in place since April 2021. And now a chronic shortage of private rented housing is set to drive up rents.
Yet the Office for Budget Responsibility has warned that housing-related benefit spending is expected to rise by just 0.1 per cent of GDP by 2025.
‘Whilst the Chancellor’s one-off pots of money to support households are welcome, these cannot be used to hide the deficiencies of the benefits system’, said NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle.
‘Landlords and tenants are dismayed at the Government’s chronic inaction to make the changes they desperately need.
‘With inflation soaring we cannot wait any longer. The Chancellor needs to do the right and logical thing by unfreezing housing benefits without delay’.