Government warned by agents to think again over tenant benefit cuts

Propertymark and seven other organisation say cuts to Local Housing Allowance rates and Universal Credit 'lacks foresight'.


Industry body Propertymark has added its voice to calls for the Government to think again over its plans to cut Universal Credit payments by £20 week, warning of a looming rent arrears and debt crisis for many tenants.

This follows the government’s decision earlier this year to freeze Local Housing Allowance rates, cutting in real cash terms support for many tenants in receipt of benefits.

The government’s own research recently revealed a £100 a month gap between the benefits paid to these tenants and their rental outgoings, leading many to sink into debt including rent arrears.

Link to Nathan Emerson's CommentNathan Emerson (pictured), Propertymark Chief Executive, says: “We are adding our voice to scrutinise these policies and highlight the serious issue of tenant debt. “The impact on landlords is evident as many tenants are already struggling financially because of the pandemic.

“Agents are continuing to work with landlords and tenants to resolve rent issues where possible, however the freeze to Local Housing Allowance rates and the decision to cut Universal Credit, will simply exacerbate existing problems, risking tenancies which could otherwise be saved.”

Nationwide support

Propertymark has been joined by seven other leading organisations in its effort to highlight these problems. These are the Nationwide and its broker subsidiary The Mortgage Works, Crisis, the National Residential Landlords Association, Shelter and the Big Issue.

Their joint statement says: “To apply policies like these without doing any meaningful impact assessment is, we argue, lacking the necessary foresight and consideration of the impact they will have on people’s security of tenure and well-being and for many will threaten their chance of recovery”.

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