Social landlords 'raising rents faster than LHA landlords'

Social landlords are raising their rents for benefit tenants above those charged by private landlords. The difference is a gap of 14%, says new data.

Produced by the organisers of the annual Resi conference, they say it has been extrapolated from the Government’s own figures and shows that contrary to widespread condemnation, private landlords who take tenants on Local Housing Allowance are not the ones pushing up the housing benefits bill.

Forecasts by the Treasury show that benefits paid to tenants of social landlords will rise by 9.4% over five years, compared with 7.9% for benefits paid to social tenants of private landlords.

Critics say that questions will be asked as to why the Department for Work and Pensions did not previously disclose these specific findings from the figures.

Some politicians, for example shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne, have called for councils to be able force down private rents to reduce the welfare bill.

Byrne told the BBC: “A lot of people say to us why are we spending £24bn on housing benefit – a lot of that money is going to private landlords. Why don’t we give local councils the power to bring down the cost of rents, particularly in the private rented sector, and use some of those savings to actually build more social housing.”

It is due to be one of the issues covered at the Resi property conference in Newport, south Wales, next month.

The figures have been taken from Department of Work and Pensions forecasts.