Housing Benefit and the Landlords from Hell

After watching Dispatches: Landlords from Hell on channel four last night, I realised I needed a quick update to my last blog – The Real Changes to Housing Benefit.

In that I wrote that new limits to Housing Benefit introduced last year make private renting very difficult to those on benefits, with cities like Middlesborough and Cambridge having limits so low that few properties are affordable. However I also wrote that the government claimed by decreasing the amount of Housing Benefit available, landlords would lower their rents accordingly and the problem would be solved.

This documentary sadly showed that instead of lowering rent on liveable properties, a number of landlords simply allow cheaper properties, still affordable on Housing Benefit, to fall into a state of disrepair dangerous to health, (with damp, mould, structural damage, boarded up windows, damaged walls and floors) knowing that their tenants cannot afford to move anywhere nicer.

The matter of Housing Benefit limits was not really touched upon, but one tenant mentioned that Housing Benefit would not cover the £550 a month needed to live somewhere less dangerous. Without further explanation of that and with many people believing that the £400 a week cap is the only limit to Housing Benefit, this must have been confusing. If any confused people have ended up on this blog, then please have a look at The Real Changes to Housing Benefit, where I explain the actual, unreported limits that have been imposed on Housing Benefit.

A few links for more information

http://www.rman.co.uk/article_landlords-from-hell-to-spark-new-calls-for-licensing-4756.html

Shelter

A podcast of the program is available here

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