More than 1,000 of Hackney's private lets out of reach for benefit claimants
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities
More than 1,500 of Hackney's private lets out of reach for benefit claimants
Only 143 of 1,585 privately let properties available in Hackney in June 2012 were available under housing benefit levels, it has emerged.
Drawing on research by Hackney Citizens Advice Bureau, London Councils submitted the figures as part of written evidence it had prepared for the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee - which is currently looking at the progress being made towards the implementation of the Universal Credit.
London Councils further revealed that landlords of only 14 of the 1,585 properties were willing to consider accepting housing benefit tenants.
The Government has capped Local Housing Allowance to tenants in the private rented sector and it's now calculated on the 30th percentile of local rented accommodation, so only 30% of all rented property on the market will cost less. Previously, it was based on the 50th percentile.
London Councils - which operates as an umbrella group for the capital's 33 boroughs - said: "With low levels of private rented sector accommodation available to housing benefit tenants, the burden for housing statutorily homeless families will fall to councils."
The group added that there are an estimated 350,000 households currently on social housing waiting lists in London, and noted that councils often have to offer temporary private rented accommodation in order to discharge their duty to house families.
London Councils reported that some boroughs are concerned about insufficient quantities of temporary accommodation to meet demand. It wrote: "The situation is being further destabilised by the lack of clarity on the future arrangements for housing benefit for people living in temporary accommodation. Officials have indicated that both boroughs and Registered Providers of social housing would be consulted on the post-2013 arrangements.
"Boroughs have yet to receive clarity on the Department’s proposed way forward. Evidence from boroughs and Registered Providers suggests that this delay and uncertainty is having and will continue to have an impact on the future supply and availability of temporary accommodation available for homeless households."
The group believes that demand for temporary accommodation is likely to rise as households struggle with rent payments and are evicted. It noted that the former Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, had written to councils in London for breaching the six week limit on housing families in bed and breakfasts. It wrote: "Whilst boroughs always seek to minimise the time a household will stay in B&B, boroughs are having increasing difficult identifying housing within the LHA cap. The number of London households in temporary accommodation increased 41% between June 2011 and June 2012."
London Councils added that it expected to see some of the families trying to cope with the benefit cap by moving into legally overcrowded accommodation, which it noted is linked with negative health and education outcomes.