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Housing Benefit (Rent Restrictions)

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 24th March 2003.

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Photo of Karen Buck Karen Buck Labour, Regent's Park and Kensington North

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of housing benefit claimants in the private rented sector were subject to restrictions as a result of rent officer determinations that the rent was (a) above the local reference rent but below the reasonable market rent, (b) above the reasonable market rent and (c) over-large for the occupying household, for each English region, in the most recent year for which figures are available.

Photo of Malcolm Wicks Malcolm Wicks Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions

Housing Benefit Management Information System data provided by local authorities show the numbers of tenants in the deregulated private rented sector whose claims to housing benefit are assessed under the local reference rent and single room rent schemes. These data do not distinguish between cases where rent is restricted following a rent officer determination and those where it is not (for example because the actual rent is sufficiently low, or the person claiming has transitional protection).

However, using information from rent officer statistics, it is possible to estimate the proportion of deregulated private rented sector cases referred by local authorities where housing benefit would be restricted if the overall claim was successful. The latest available estimates are in the table.

Estimated proportions of deregulated private rented sector cases referred to the rent officer which would be subject to reduced rent determinations if the housing benefit claim was successful, by types of restriction, by English Government Office Region in 2000–01.

Percentage
Rent above local reference rent and single room rent but below reasonable market rent Rent above reasonable market rent Over large accommodation
London 14 38 8
North West 13 46 19
West Midlands 19 23 19
North West 8 36 32
Yorks and Humber 14 32 26
East Midlands 17 26 26
Eastern 23 20 19
South East 16 31 14
South West 15 31 16
Total 15 34 18

Notes:

1. The data refer to households claiming housing benefit (HB), which may be a single person, a couple or a family. More than one benefit household can live in one property, for example two or more adults in a flat or house share arrangement.

2. Where a HB claim was first made before October 1997, or October 1996 for SRR cases, the case will have transitional protection from LRR and SRR restrictions. Rent officer data do not distinguish between these cases, and the estimates therefore represent the proportion of referrals where the rent would be restricted assuming that all referrals were liable to such restriction.

3. The data relate to all referrals made over a year. They will differ from the HB case load in that some claims will not be successful (for example, because the person's income is too high) and because some people may claim more often than others, for example, because they move house, or leave and then return to benefit. The figures will therefore over-represent short duration claims.

4. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

Source:

Rent Officer data (England and Wales) for April 2000 to March 2001.

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