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.