Campaigns Welfare Reform and Homelessness

New Universal Credit reform needed says report

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Responding report by Citizens Advice today showing 49 per cent of those it helps with Universal Credit are in rent arrears Chris Town, RLA Vice Chair said: “Today’s report demonstrates the need for more changes to be made to Universal Credit.

“One of the main drivers of rent arrears has been that tenants cannot routinely choose to have the housing element of Universal Credit paid directly to their landlord at the start of a claim.

“Many tenants prefer to have the assurance that their rent is paid and their right to do this should be restored immediately.  

“This needs to be coupled with lifting the freeze on housing benefits and the housing element of Universal Credit.

“Housing cost support is simply not keeping up with the realities of rents in the private sector, despite them falling in real terms over the past year.” 

The RLA’s most recent research shows that of those landlords with tenants on Universal Credit, 61 per cent experienced tenants going into rent arrears in the past 12 months.

This is up from 38% last year and 27% in 2016. 

A report for the RLA by experts at Manchester Metropolitan University noted that caps on the Local Housing Allowance Rate have been a key driver of homelessness from the private rented sector.

 The Office for National Statistics shows that in the UK, average rents in the private sector increased by one per cent in the year December 2018, much lower than inflation. 

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.