The Government’s sweeping welfare reforms are severely limiting the ability of young people to access affordable rental properties in the UK Private Rented Sector (PRS), according to a recent survey published by a homeless organisation.
The public survey published by Homeless Link, confirmed the findings of a landlord survey, conducted by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL).
The survey revealed that 65% of all UK local authorities had reported a negative impact on the ability of young people to access affordable shared (HMO) private rented sector (PRS) accommodation.
In January 2012, changes made by Government ministers increased the age at which housing benefit claimants could claim only for a room in shared housing from age 25 to age 35.
This simple change affected over 1.3 Million private rented sector (PRS) tenants aged between 25 and 34.
Over 35 local authorities across the country have either adopted, or are considering adopting, planning powers to restrict the growth of such properties by preventing residential properties being converted to shared properties for rent, (HMO’s).
The survey by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) of over 1,000 landlords found that 55% of respondent said that there were not enough shared properties to cope with the Government’s welfare reforms.
Richard Jones, RLA policy director said, “As Ministers in Whitehall implement welfare reforms which will see an increase in demand for shared housing, councillors in town halls across the country are using planning powers to restrict their growth. It is clear that the left arm of central government and the right arm of local government don’t know what each is doing. Faced with such contradictions, the RLA is calling on councils to support the desperate need for new shared housing and lift restrictions on their growth completely.”
Over 35 local authorities across the country are either adopting or have adopted what are known as Article 4 Directions.
Available since 2010, these powers enable a council to require planning permission to be obtained by the property owner to convert a property from a private residential home to a shared house for rent, (HMO).
In reality many local authorities are using it to restrict the growth of the Private Rented Sector within their remit, often under pressure from a small, vocal group of residents in any given area.
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