New LHA rates: what do they mean?
New LHA rates: what do they mean?

On 20 March, the chancellor announced that Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates for housing benefit will be increased to match ‘the 30th percentile’ of rents in each local area. We’ll explain more about what this means in detail, but this is a major, necessary change that will help many people cope during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and in the future.

Why is this an important change?

Housing benefit is a vital part of the social safety net for renters. It … Read more

Evictions to continue despite COVID-19 public health emergency
Evictions to continue despite COVID-19 public health emergency

We are facing a global crisis. Government guidance has been clear: you must stay home to avoid spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). And from those who are the most vulnerable to the people who need to self-isolate, and for everyone else instructed to stay home to avoid spreading the virus, secure housing is now critical to the safety of the nation.

That’s why we breathed a sigh of relief last week when the government announced a temporary end to evictions and welcomed … Read more

The chancellor must lift housing benefit rates
The chancellor must lift housing benefit rates

When the government announced it was ending the freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) – housing benefit for those renting privately – we and millions of households were hopeful. But as of April 2020, the government will lift LHA rates by only a pitiful 1.7%.

As our new assessment of the true impact of LHA shows, after a decade of cuts and freezes, the current proposals are nowhere near enough to provide a stable home for the estimated 1.4 million … Read more

Meet the inspiring women taking on discrimination in the courts – and winning
Meet the inspiring women taking on discrimination in the courts – and winning

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual. It’s about challenging stereotypes, fighting bias, and broadening perceptions. To mark the occasion, we’d like you to meet three women who are doing just that: they’re taking on DSS discrimination in the courts – and they’re winning.

Amanda, Rosie, and Philippa each receive housing benefit to top up their income in order to pay the cost of their rent. They have also all experienced DSS discrimination when looking for … Read more

Trapped in an abusive relationship: how the housing emergency prevented me from leaving
Trapped in an abusive relationship: how the housing emergency prevented me from leaving

Here is one woman’s experience about how the housing emergency made it difficult for her to escape an abusive relationship. This is a real story, but models have been used to protect the privacy of our clients.

The father of my two children was very abusive, both emotionally and physically. He was very manipulative, and I was dependent on him emotionally. I was a lot younger than him.

After a few years in this situation, I got up the strength … Read more

No DSS: Amanda's story
No DSS: Amanda's story

Discrimination against renters receiving housing benefit is rife. These so-called ‘No DSS’ policies are unfairly locking hundreds of thousands of people out of homes they could otherwise afford, often pushing them closer to homelessness.

We’re campaigning hard to end this discrimination, but we couldn’t do it without our supporters. That’s people like Amanda, who tells her story below and who joined the campaign after challenging – and ultimately winning against – the DSS discrimination she faced first-hand.

I wanted to share my … Read more

Two easy ways to avoid a £13,000 bill
Two easy ways to avoid a £13,000 bill
Guest blog by Helena McAleer, Landlord

So, your letting agent told you renting your property to people on DSS is a bad idea?

If your letting agent has advised you against letting your property to a claimant of housing benefit, then they are wrong. This is discrimination and it’s illegal. In court, the responsibility falls at the feet of the landlord, who, as recent cases show, could be on the receiving end of an eye-watering £13,000 bill.

I’d encourage you … Read more

The government's response to Universal Credit court fine deductions
The government's response to Universal Credit court fine deductions

Many of the people we see on a daily basis have come on an unthinkably difficult journey just to finally secure a settled home. It’s something many of us take for granted. After years of living on the streets, managing to maintain a home, bills and the administrative burden that comes with it is a triumph within itself. But for an increasing number of service users, this hard work and perseverance is being eroded because of huge deductions being taken … Read more

Government announces further delays to the Universal Credit roll-out
Government announces further delays to the Universal Credit roll-out

Earlier this week, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced further delays to the roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) because people are not moving onto the new system fast enough. Originally planned to be completed by April 2017, the government are now saying the roll-out won’t be complete until September 2024.

At present, the only people moving to UC are those who have to make a new application because their circumstances changed. The future plan is that claimants will … Read more

New data makes the case for a new generation of social homes
New data makes the case for a new generation of social homes

Last week saw the release of the English Housing Survey (EHS) – the most comprehensive source we have for understanding the housing emergency. This government survey collects information about the quality, condition and affordability of the homes people live in. It’s been running for 50 years in various forms and is an invaluable record of how people’s housing circumstances have changed over time.

And yesterday new figures were released, which tell us how many households are on the waiting list for social … Read more

People on housing benefit are sick with worry – £10 a month is not going to change that
People on housing benefit are sick with worry – £10 a month is not going to change that

The freeze on housing benefit has been an unmitigated disaster. Private rents have risen while benefit rates stayed stuck, and people across the country are struggling to bridge the gap, leading to homelessness, debt, and poverty for many.

For years there has been every sign that politicians are happy to turn the other cheek while people on housing benefit are stressed, anxious, and sick with worry.

New research by Shelter shows the truly devastating impact the freeze is having on … Read more

Government's plan to raise LHA in line with inflation is nowhere near good enough
Government's plan to raise LHA in line with inflation is nowhere near good enough

Yesterday, the government announced how much housing benefits for private renters will be increased once the current benefits freeze finally ends. The news is not good.

In April 2020, Local Housing Allowance (LHA) – the housing benefit people receive for their private rental costs – will be raised in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which currently stands at a pitiful 1.7%. While any rise in benefit level is welcome, it is completely unacceptable to raise the LHA rates … Read more