Falling Short: Housing Benefit and the rising cost of renting in England
Crisis and Zoopla have joined forces on an in-depth look at the actual cost of renting in England - and found the government is drastically underestimating the shortfall between housing benefit and the cost of rents.
- Low-income renters across England are facing a ‘housing black hole’ due to soaring rents and the freeze on housing benefit leaving a huge shortfall in genuinely affordable homes.
- At the start of 2022, one in four private renters in England (1.2 million households) were reliant on housing benefit to keep a roof over their heads. By contrast, new analysis of Zoopla listings data finds that fewer than one in eight properties available for rent last year were affordable to those in receipt of housing benefit, leaving tens of thousands facing shortfalls in rent amidst a cost of living crisis.
- Average monthly rental prices are now 12% higher than they were before the pandemic, but housing benefit has remained frozen since March 2020 and is based on rents from 2018-19. In May of this year, the Westminster Government committed to increase other means-tested benefits in line with inflation in April 2023, but it has so far ignored housing benefit.
- The shortfalls between housing benefit payments and rents are more than double what the most recent Government figures suggest – with low-income renters being forced to find, on average, an additional £648 for a one-bed, £1,052 for a two-bed and £1,655 for a three-bed a year compared to £313, £371 and £498, respectively.
- In almost 50% of local authorities, fewer than 20 such properties listed were affordable to people receiving housing benefit in the last year. This is despite 44% of private renters being singles or couples with no children and for who a one bed property would be the most suitable.
- Crisis and Zoopla are joining together to call on the government to urgently invest in housing benefit at the autumn budget if it wants to prevent thousands from being pushed into homelessness.
Below you can find the full report and a note on the methodology that was used.
'Falling short: Housing benefit and the rising cost of renting in England' (August 2022, Zoopla and Crisis)
Crisis and Zoopla and joined forces on an in-depth look at the actual cost of renting in England - and found the government is drastically underestimating the shortfall between housing benefit and the cost of rents.
A note outlining the methodology used in Falling Short: Housing Benefit and the rising cost of renting in England