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NRLA rounds on political parties for ignoring LHA rates 'gap'

local housing rates nrla ben beadle

Landlord representative body the NRLA has rounded on all the political parties ahead of this week’s General Election for ignoring one of the ‘most important’ issues facing the private rented sector.

Ben Beadle (main image, inset), Chief Executive of the NRLA says the lack of debate during the election campaign about the gap between Local Housing Allowance (LHA) payments and private rents is worrying.

His analysis of LHA data shows that of the 1.5 million households who rent privately and receive Universal Credit (UC), nearly a million have to cover the shortfall between what they get in LHA via Universal Credit and the rent they pay.

The NRLA points out that this problem, faced by so many private renters (and the landlords or letting agents who manage their tenancies), has been largely absent from all the political parties’ manifestos. As LandlordZONE has reported many times, landlords who rent properties to UC claimants find that many get into rent arrears because the housing element of their benefits does not cover the rent charged.

Despite this problem affecting so many people, even the Labour party’s manifesto only briefly mentions UC and makes no reference to LHA.


In November 2023 Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ‘unfroze’ the mechanism which ties LHA to rent rises, which had been stationary since 2020, although even then it was only increased to the lower 30% of rents nationwide by the Chancellor.

LHA rates are due to be frozen once more next year, although Labour is likely to review this if it gains power.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the freezing of LHA rates has led to just five per cent of private rental properties being affordable for those in receipt of LHA.

“It is time to fix the broken housing benefit system once and for all,” says Beadle.

“The lack of clarity about support in the future is causing insecurity and anxiety for renters and landlords alike.

“It undermines efforts to sustain tenancies and prevent homelessness in the first place.

“The lack of any pledges to address this issue by the main parties is unacceptable. The next government must confirm that housing benefit rates will permanently track market rents. This would provide the assurances needed that support would keep pace with the cost of housing.”

What to do if youir tenant gets into rent arrears.


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