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Landlords tell Labour it must unfreeze 'unjust' LHA rates

lha rates labour nrla

Landlords have called on a future Labour government to scrap the ‘unjust’ Local Housing Allowance (LHA) freeze which has seen many tenants on benefits struggling to make up the gap between their rent and their housing payments.

LHA rates are used to calculate Housing Benefit for tenants renting from private landlords and, as LandlordZONE has reported on many occasions, the freeze has both put tenants under increasing financial pressure and lead to landlords seeing rising rent arrears.

Calling the situation a ‘travesty’ during a fringe meeting at this week’s Labour conference in Liverpool (main picture), Chris Norris (pictured) of the National Residential Landlords Association told delegates that the freeze was ‘completely unworkable’ arguing that it represents a ‘brake on social mobility, a brake on access [to rented housing] and a brake on investment’ in new homes to rent.  

“Housing benefit rates have been frozen for the third year in a row, meaning benefit support is linked to rents as they were three years ago, not as they are today,” he said.


According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), just 5% of rental properties advertised on Zoopla are now affordable for those in receipt of housing benefit as a result of the freeze.

Norris called on the Government to update the LHA, adding: “We welcome the recognition from all the panellists of the importance of the private rented sector.

“If they win power, Labour will need to tackle fundamental challenges in the rental market.

“It will need to tackle the chronic lack of private rented homes which is making it harder and harder for renters to find anywhere to live.  

“The unjust housing benefit freeze will need to be scrapped. And a future Labour Government will need to do more to root out those landlords providing unsafe housing and bringing the sector into disrepute.

“None of this will be easy, but we stand ready to work constructively with the party to secure a rental market that works for tenants and responsible landlords.”

Other speakers at the event included Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham council, who is undertaking a review of the rented sector for Labour and Richard Rowntree, Managing Director of Mortgages, Paragon Bank.


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