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Briefing: Shut out

By: Heather Spurr
Published: June 2017

Shut out: The barriers low-income households in private renting

A growing number of low-income households are struggling to access private rented housing. This is fuelling homelessness, as increasing numbers of people are forced to to seek help from their council. Meanwhile, growing numbers of families are trapped for years in temporary accommodation because local authorities struggle to secure housing for them. And many low-income tenants have no choice but to accept poor conditions and bad landlords.

This briefing sets out the main barriers to low-income households accessing the private rented sector. It examines the wider housing market context, affordability and Local Housing Allowance rates, the attitudes private landlords have towards low-income tenants, and the upfront costs and additional hurdles that bar tenants who might have been able to afford ongoing rents. The briefing examines what current schemes are in place to assist people into accommodation and sets out recommendations for change. It is based on a review of current literature and interviews with advisers at Shelter advice hubs all over England to understand what is going on in different areas of the country.