Rising rents and benefits cuts pushing vulnerable tenants out of housing market

10th March 2017

The UK’s most vulnerable tenants are being pushed out of the private rental market, according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Residential Market Survey. New figures show that around one-third of respondents believe that access to private rented properties had fallen among people on housing benefits. Recent caps to housing benefits were cited by 29 per cent of respondents as a key reason why those on lower incomes were being pushed out of the rental market.

Those on lower incomes are set to face further financial difficulties with rents expected by respondents to the survey to increase by in excess of 20 per cent over the next five years. By way of contrast, house prices are projected to increase by around 18 per cent over the same period.

However, the Government may be able to provide assistance, as respondents to the survey suggested that more than half of the UK’s private landlords would be prepared to rent their properties to homeless people or those on housing benefits if the Government introduced some form of state-endorsed deposit guarantor scheme. Fifty two per cent of those surveyed said that they would consider letting properties to households in receipt of housing benefit and/or homeless households if help was provided through central government which provided financial guarantees for both deposits and rent, and ongoing support for both parties.

As part of their ‘A Home For Cathy’ campaign – aimed at tackling UK homelessness – RICS is joining forces with Crisis to call on Government to do more to support vulnerable tenants through the introduction of help to rent measures. The survey highlights the uphill battle many homeless people face when trying to enter the private rented sector. Renting is often the only way out of homelessness, but the vast majority of landlords now consider it too risky to rent to homeless people. This is a desperate situation to be in: to be ready to move on and start rebuilding your life only to encounter financial barriers and closed doors.

Crisis CEO, Jon Sparkes said ” The survey also showed that across the country the shortage of available properties to rent is continuing to grow, with tenant demand exceeding the number of new instructions on the market for the thirty-eighth consecutive month and by an increasing margin. With growing numbers of people stuck in this homelessness trap, we need to find ways to reassure landlords whilst supporting homeless people to find a place to live. That’s why Crisis’ Home: No Less Will Do campaign is calling on the Government to underwrite a national rent deposit guarantee to ensure more support is made available to those trying to find a home to rent. They already help first-time buyers struggling for a deposit – we’d like to see them extend this help to those who need it most.”

The Survey’s highlights inclue:
  • Around one-third of respondents say homeless people and those on housing benefits are being pushed out of private rental market
  •  New figures show rents predicted to rise by in excess of 20 per cent over the next five years
  •  52 per cent of private landlords* would house homeless people if Government acted as rent deposit guarantor

The full survey results can be found by clicking here