Research: Shut Out: Households at put at risk of homelessness by the housing benefit freeze

By:   Published: June 2017


The inability to find a new place to live once a short term tenancy ends is a leading cause of homelessness in Great Britain. New research by Shelter identifies a number of reasons why people on low incomes are increasingly unable to find a home and secure a tenancy in the private rented sector. The research finds that the most important reason, is the shortfall between housing benefit and the cost of private renting. Sometimes this shortfall is only small – but any shortfall can have devastating effects on whether people can find a new home when their tenancy has ended. Due to current policy, these shortfalls are set to get worse. This research brief sets out our analysis of how many people could be at risk of being affected by this by 2020, without government action.

Summary

The inability to find a new place to live, once a short term tenancy ends is a leading cause of homelessness in Great Britain. Assured shorthold tenancies (the type of tenancy used in the private sector in England and Wales) are typically between six and twelve months in length. Sometimes landlords agree to renew tenancies each year. However, recent research by Shelter found that many households do have to find a new home every year.

Research by shelter published today investigates why people are struggling to find a new private rented home. It features new data analysis, interviews with people who have become homeless in the last year and interviews with frontline workers. It identifies a number of reasons why people on low incomes are increasingly unable to find a home and secure a tenancy in the private rented sector. The research finds that the most important reason, is the shortfall between housing benefit and the cost of private renting. Sometimes this shortfall is only small – but any shortfall can have devastating effects on whether people can find a new home when their tenancy has ended. Due to current policy, these shortfalls are set to get worse.

This new research brief sets out new analysis into the number of households who could be at risk of being affected by this by 2020, without government action.

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