Recent News

Rent arrears to go up '£180' under universal credit

Universal credit will lead to an average increase in rent arrears of £180 for each tenant, according to law firm Winckworth Sherwood.

A major shake-up of the benefits system began yesterday with a pilot involving new claimants in Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester.  Universal credit will merge several benefits and tax credits, including housing benefit, into one monthly payment. 

Big bounce in number of new tenants looking for homes

The number of new applicants seeking to rent in March was up 21% from February, with demand outstripping supply as the number of available homes to rent rose only 5%.

According to Sequence – part of Connells – average rents for March were £704, unchanged from February. London rents averaged £1,375, almost twice the national average. 

Shelter reports surge in demand for homelessness services

Housing charity Shelter has reported a surge in demand for its homelessness advice services.

In the last year, the charity has recorded a 40% rise in the numbers of callers in England needing help with housing costs, arrears and other debt issues, while in the last six months, visitors to its online housing costs advice service have doubled. 

Edinburgh Council has adopted a ‘no eviction’ policy for tenants affected by the ‘bedroom tax’

Edinburgh Council has adopted a ‘no eviction’ policy for tenants affected by the ‘bedroom tax’.

The local authority agreed that ‘where the director of services for communities was satisfied that tenants who were subject to the under-occupation charge had done all they reasonably could to avoid falling in to arrears, then all legitimate means to collect rent arrears should be utilised except eviction’. 

Benefits cap pilots claim DWP cash is not enough

The first four councils to test the government’s new benefit cap have warned they have not received enough money to implement the changes.

Enfield, Croydon, Haringey and Bromley councils on Monday became the first local authorities to implement the £26,000-a-year benefit cap. The councils must identify who is eligible for the cap and administer the new system. 

DWP awards £38m credit union expansion

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has today awarded a £38 million contract to modernise and grow the credit union industry.

The Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL) is the successful bidder to deliver the DWP’s project, which is designed to help meet the growing demand for modern banking products for people on low incomes. 

Weekly benefit cap begins in London

The government's cap on benefits begins today across four London boroughs.

The cap means that families in Enfield, Haringey, Bromley and Croydon will not be able to claim more than £500 per week, whilst single people will not be able to claim more than £350. 

Majority of benefit claimants concerned about welfare reform

Similarly, over a third (35 percent) of people in England currently receiving council tax benefit said they are not aware that they may be required to pay more or all of their council tax from this April. Over two thirds (68 percent) said that they would have to cut back on heating and food if they had to pay more toward their council tax bill.

Turn2us is running its third annual Benefits Awareness Month campaign this April to encourage people in financial need to check their entitlements and prepare for the significant changes to the benefit system that are coming into effect. 

Letting agent is sent to jail after £110,000 fraud

A letting agent who failed to protect tenants’ deposits and did not pass rent on to landlords has been jailed. The out-of-pocket victims have been warned they are unlikely to get a penny of their money back.

Paul Collins, 47, who ran Thomas and Company Rentals in Milton Keynes, was sentenced to ten months in prison after pleading guilty to 25 counts of fraud.