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Cuts and Changes to Housing Benefit for Private Renters (LHA)

By: Zorana Halpin
Published: May 2015

Cuts and Changes to Housing Benefit for Private Renters (LHA)

Low-income households renting privately can access support known as Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to help pay the rent. This briefing summarises the impact of cuts and changes to LHA introduced from 2011. 

It finds that:

  • Many renting households face a rent shortfall, despite qualifying for help.

  • Renters have adopted a range of short-term strategies to pay their rent and finances are precariously balanced. Some renters have moved into arrears.

  • Renters are being forced to compromise on quality or overcrowd to find affordable homes, even to the point of tolerating rogue landlords.

  • Landlords are demanding greater reassurance from renters that they will be able to pay rent, making it difficult for renters to move into new accommodation.

  • Some renters who have lost unaffordable accommodation have become homeless.

The supply of properties which low-income renters can afford is gradually constricting and the help renters get is becoming increasingly inadequate. Further moves to open up the gap between rents and LHA could be very damaging.