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Rented Housing: Coronavirus

Question for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

UIN HL12120, tabled on 13 January 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide financial support to tenants who have accrued rent arrears as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answered on

25 January 2021

The UK Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support which is available to tenants, and we continue to closely monitor the impacts of Covid-19 upon renters.

Notably, we have increased the local housing allowance rate to the 30th percentile. The increased LHA rates are expected to provide 1.5 million claimants with around £600 per year of housing support more than they would otherwise have received. This measure maintains that significant increase for all rates, by protecting the rates at the current levels in cash terms in 2021/22, even in areas where the 30th percentile of local rents has gone down. This continued investment in the LHA will support claimants in the private rented sector to manage housing costs. We also increased Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by up to £1,040 for the year. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has offered support for business to pay staff salaries, enabling people to continue to pay their rent and has been extended until April 2021.

For those who require additional support, Discretionary Housing Payments are available. As announced at the spending round for 2020/21, there is already £180 million in Discretionary Housing Payments for Local Authorities to distribute for supporting renters with housing costs in the private and social rented sectors. For 2021-22 the Government will make available £140 million in DHP funding, which takes account of the increased LHA rates. These interventions offer a more appropriate and sustainable form of support for vulnerable renters.

The recently published EHS Household Resilience Study found that 93 per cent of private renters are up to date on their rent. This indicates our package of support is working, and has prevented widespread arrears.