Rents: Arrears

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 22nd June 2021.

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Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Shadow Secretary of State for Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on Monday 14 June, Official Report, col 4, that over nine out of 10 people are not in rent arrears at all; what recent estimate he has made of the number and proportion of people in rent arrears.

Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The latest published data from the English Housing Survey Household Resilience Study from November – December 2020, suggests that the vast majority (91%) of private renters are up to date with their rent. Of the 9% (353,000 households) in arrears, two thirds are in arrears of less than 2 months.

The UK Government has provided an unprecedented package of financial support which is available to tenants.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and £20 per week uplift in Universal Credit are in place until the end of September helping renters to continue paying their rent. Local housing allowance rates have been maintained at their increased level in cash terms in 2021/22, meaning claimants renting in the private rented sector continue to benefit from the significant increase in the local housing allowance rates applied in April 2020. For those who require additional support, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available. For 2021-22 the Government has made £140 million available in DHP funding, building on the £180 million provided last year.

Renters will continue to benefit from longer notice periods, giving them more time to make alternative arrangements. As of 1 June, until at least 30 September, notice periods will be at least 4 months except in the most egregious cases.

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