Tenants in receipt of housing benefit gave almost £10 billion pounds to private landlords last year.
Rise in housing benefit claimants
This is according to new figures from the National Housing Federation, which suggest that the number of households claiming housing benefit has risen by 42 per cent since 2008.
The number of housing benefit recipients renting in the private sector, rather than from housing associations, has also risen in that period, from one in four to almost a third.
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Local Housing Allowance calculations
For housing benefit tenants in the private rented sector, the amount received is based on the Local Housing Allowance. This takes into account the area, number of bedrooms, income, and other circumstances.
The lowest tier runs to a maximum of £260.64 per week for a one bedroom property or shared accommodation.
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Landlords still reluctant
But private sector landlords are often reluctant to let to housing benefit tenants, despite their significant contribution to the sector. Red tape surrounding claimants can mean that benefit payments start and stop unpredictably, and in the past it has been common for buy-to-let mortgages to stipulate that properties cannot be occupied by tenants in receipt of housing benefit.
Speaking to the Guardian, a government spokesperson said: “The reality is we have taken action to bring the housing benefit bill under control, and since 2012 the amount going to private sector landlords has actually been falling. “We are also committed to building the homes this country needs and investing £8bn to build 400,000 more affordable homes.”
What do you think about renting to housing benefit tenants? Let us know below.