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Private Rented Housing

Question for Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

UIN 21263, tabled on 20 June 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper, published on 16 June 2022, what steps his Department is taking to review Local Housing Allowance rates; and if he will take steps to provide local authorities with stronger selective licensing powers by removing the requirement for Secretary of State approval for larger schemes to help tackle insecure and unfit housing.

Answered on

28 June 2022

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions reviews Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates annually. In April 2020 investment in LHA rates was boosted by nearly £1 billion when rates were set at the 30th percentile of market rents, providing 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. Rates have been maintained at their increased 2020 levels so that claimants continue to benefit from the significant increase.

On Thursday 16 June the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities published The Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper. The announced measures will ensure millions of families will benefit from living in decent, well looked-after homes as part of the biggest shake up of the private rented sector in 30 years. This includes a Property Portal which will provide access to information about privately rented properties and tackle one of the biggest and most time-consuming barriers faced by local councils when enforcing standards - identifying poor quality and non-compliant properties and who owns them.

Selective licensing schemes when used as part of a wider, well planned, coherent initiative, can be an effective tool for local authorities to drive better outcomes for good landlords and tenants. Overall, we think we have the right selective licensing approval process in place to support tenants, landlords, and local authorities.