LHA landlords told to seek alternatives to eviction
The umbrella body for local authorities in London has warned against hasty evictions after a report found tenants in the capital are being hit hardest by benefit cuts.
London Councils said private landlords should work with local authorities and tenants to resolve arrears caused by the introduction of limits to the maximum amount of local housing allowance that can be claimed.
A government-commissioned report into the impact of the LHA changes was published last week by a research consortium led by Sheffield Hallam University.
This found 43 per cent of London claimants had faced difficulty finding accommodation while on housing benefit, compared with 31 per cent in the rest of the country.
Thirty seven per cent of landlords in London said they had taken action to evict, not renew or end tenancies because of the LHA reforms while that figure was 25 per cent in the rest of Great Britain.
Just 11 per cent of landlords in the capital said they had lowered rents, compared with 14 per cent in the rest of the Britain.
Sir Steve Bullock, executive member for housing at London Councils, said: ‘Rents are much higher in London than in other parts of the country, and landlords are rightly worried about tenants who claim housing benefit being able to pay their rent.
‘However it seems far too many are evicting tenants or simply not renewing tenancy agreements and not working with tenants and councils to find a way forward,’ explained Mr Bullock.
If landlords did not reduce their rent they would exacerbate the shortage of housing for those households who are working and on low incomes, Mr Bullock said.
‘We have already seen evictions in London and fear this will further escalate over the coming months.’
The first report from the review of the reforms found a third of private landlords are considering or planning to stop letting homes to housing benefit claimants.
In April it was revealed Newham Council had written to 1,179 housing organisations asking them to help house up to 500 tenants saying it could no longer afford to house them in local private accommodation.