Social landlords concern planned cuts will trigger homelessness

  • A survey of English housing associations and councils has revealed that social landlords are concerned that the planned benefit cuts will result in a large rise in tenant evictions. /images/briefing/welfare bill 2.jpg

    New research has found that social landlords are expecting a surge in rent arrears, tenant evictions and homelessness is the government moves forward with its plans to further cut welfare support, reports the Guardian.

    A report by consultants Grant Thornton have predicted that the continuing impact of the bedroom tax and the moves to extend the benefit cap and impose further limits on housing benefits will place further financial pressure on tenants.

    It concludes that the ability of councils and housing associations to mitigate growing arrears has been severely eroded, and increasing numbers are issuing possession orders to tenants who have fallen behind with the rent.

    The report says that a further cut in discretionary housing payments increases the risk of eviction as 95% of social landlords surveyed said that most DHP claimants were partly or mostly dependent on the payments to meet rent in the long term.

    "Any proposed reduction in DHP funding from central government is therefore likely to result in increasing rent arrears and homelessness in the next two years, unless it is compensated by other means," the report concludes.

    The report also warns that councils should not assume that charities can take the strain of providing hardship support. "There is increasing anecdotal evidence that third sector providers, such as food banks, are already at full capacity in some areas," it says

    A DWP spokesman said: "This is a small study using data from a minority of local authorities and housing associations, giving a partial picture. There are many reasons for evictions and to suggest that they are due to welfare reform is completely misleading. We maintain strong protections to guard families against the threat of homelessness and have provided almost £1bn in discretionary housing payments and homelessness support funding."

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