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

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

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

Managing money: the importance of autonomy
Managing money: the importance of autonomy

From time to time, we all get into difficulty managing our money. A boiler breaking, a car needing repair, a bigger heating bill than expected. These things can hit us hard and always seem to be poorly timed, particularly if money is already tight. We all have different methods of coping, and different ways of ensuring we keep on top of all the other bills and rent. Some people try to manage by taking the hit in one go; whereas … Read more

Rising homelessness and struggling families: something has got to give
Rising homelessness and struggling families: something has got to give

In our last post, the challenges that private renters in receipt of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) face in finding an affordable and decent home were laid out. This inability to access housing they can afford means that many people are forced to accept large shortfalls between their LHA and their rent in order to find a home.

Our research has found that nearly 42% of non-working LHA households face a monthly shortfall of over £100. This is a significant … Read more

Conservative Party Conference: Where is the government’s offer for struggling renters?
Conservative Party Conference: Where is the government’s offer for struggling renters?

In its mission to use Conservative Party Conference to promote homeownership, the government has all but forgotten about struggling renters on low to average incomes. Here, we explain why piecemeal changes to shared ownership fail to tackle the roots of our housing emergency.

In the last two years, Conservative Party Conference has brought some welcome news for struggling renters. In 2017, Theresa May used her speech to announce the first funding for truly affordable social rent homes since 2010. … Read more

The five-week wait is five weeks too long
The five-week wait is five weeks too long

Yesterday, we published a report on how the people who use our services have been impacted by Universal Credit (UC). This highlights the issues the introduction of UC has caused, drawing on the voices and experiences of people affected, as well as in depth analysis of the data they have provided. Our findings have helped inform our key recommendations for moving forwards, so if the newly re-appointed Secretary of State for Department for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd, needs some … Read more

From the Frontline: the ongoing impact of welfare reform
From the Frontline: the ongoing impact of welfare reform

The consequences of the broken housing safety net are laid bare in our new report, From the Frontline. This shines a light on the thousands of people we help every year who are being pushed to the point of crisis due to the continued impact of welfare reform and the introduction of Universal Credit (UC).

The freeze to Local Housing Allowance (LHA), which is housing benefit for those renting privately, is forcing people to make the impossible choice between … Read more

Another year poorer: is Targeted Affordability Funding enough?
Another year poorer: is Targeted Affordability Funding enough?

As we start a new financial year, the one million households claiming Housing Benefit in the private rental sector continue to see their Local Housing Allowance (LHA) frozen.

The government is fully aware that rates now fall short of increasing rents in the vast majority of the country. Every month, renters are left with a shortfall that puts them at risk of debt and homelessness. Nonetheless, the government has insisted on enforcing the freeze until April 2020, rather than bringing … Read more

Some welcome respite for housing benefit

Shelter’s main ask going into the Autumn Budget was for the government to lift the freeze to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in order to stem the rise in homelessness seen in the private rented sector.

Local Housing Allowance – the type of housing benefit for private renters – has been cut every year since 2011. It has frequently been one of the first benefits in line when the Treasury has gone looking for Budget savings, and private renters have seen … Read more