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Housing Update: Your daily update on politics and the private rented sector

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

Thursday 24th October 2019

Mayor of London Calls for Universal Credit to be Scrapped

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called on the government to stop the roll out of Universal Credit, after new analysis from City Hall showed welfare cuts over the last decade have led to a rise in the number of people in London forced into homelessness. Last year, 8,855 people were seen sleeping rough on the streets of London by outreach workers – more than double the number in 2010/11.

The new analysis shows that private renters claiming Housing Benefit, including those who work, will receive an average of £1,400 less a year by 2020/21 than would have been the case without the changes in Local Housing Allowance introduced over the last nine years. It also shows that:

  • In Inner East and North London, this figure rises to £3,950;
  • Households also subject to the Benefit Cap face a shortfall of £5,450;
  • Social housing tenants subject to the Bedroom Tax will receive an average of £1,050 less.

These reductions in support contrast with what City Hall describe as “steep rent increases” in the private rented sector over the same period. It argues that the average rent for a two-bedroom private rented home in London was £6,600 a year higher in 2018/19 than in 2010/11.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The Government’s introduction of Universal Credit has been an unmitigated disaster and should be stopped before it forces any more Londoners onto the streets.

“This report sets out in stark detail the brutal impact of nearly a decade of welfare cuts on the lives of Londoners. Whilst it is the actions of central government that is causing the rise in rough sleeping, it’s London that is left to pick up the bill. That’s why these draconian cuts must be reversed immediately.

“We are doing all we can to help Londoners affected by high rents, but without the powers to do more we need the Government to play their part. They should urgently reverse their damaging benefit cuts, overhaul tenancy laws to make them fit for purpose, and give me the power to bring in the rent controls Londoners so urgently need.”

Number of Affordable and Rental Sector Homes Increases by 11% Says NHBC

The National House Building Council’s latest statistics show the number of new homes registered to be built in the UK during the last three months is 9% down on last year’s levels, despite a significant increase in the affordable and rental sector.

In total 39,364 new homes were registered over the last three months compared to 43,403 a year ago.

In the private sector 27,916 homes were registered, 16% down on the 33,110 12 months ago. Continuing the trend over recent months, the affordable and rental sector (which includes shared ownership and homes built for private, social or affordable rent) increased by 11% compared to 2018 figures (11,448 v 10,293).

During Q3 there were increases in three out of 12 UK regions, with the West Midlands reporting a 52% increase in registrations (4,760 v 3,136), a result of 1,200 plots registered in Birmingham for the 2022 Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village.

Commenting on the latest figures, NHBC Chief Executive Steve Wood said: “It is great to see the strength of the affordable and rental sectors, whilst we would hope that the slowdown in private sector registrations is transient, and a function of short-term Brexit uncertainties.

“In any event, NHBC will continue to work with builders to raise standards and improve quality for homeowners.” This report can be read online here

New Report Highlights Growth in Purpose Built Student Accommodation Market

The student property platform, StuRents, has published its annual UK Student Accommodation Report. It can be read here. Of note, it reports that:

  • HMOs still equate to at least 73% of all private student beds. However, private purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) is set to surpass university beds for the first time in 2020.
  • 2019 will be a record year for new PBSA, with more than 34,000 beds added, representing year-on-year growth of 5.3%.
  • The supply pipeline remains skewed towards private PBSA, with more than 120k beds approved or awaiting a decision.
  • In 2019 the average HMO outside of London increased its advertised rent by 6.0% year-on-year, whilst PBSA recorded growth of 1.9%.
  • Outside of London, the average budget when house hunting for 2019-20 was £126pppw, up 3.8% year-on-year.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

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