The government plans to introduce a radical reform of Housing Benefit for private tenants. Known as the Local Housing Allowance (LHA), the new scheme has been piloted over a two year period prior to a planned national roll-out. The radical feature of the LHA is that, unlike the present Housing Benefit (HB) scheme, entitlement is no longer based on the tenant's rent. Instead, within each local market area, there is a flat-rate allowance for all privately rented claimants, which varies only by household size and composition. Yet most of the controversy has focused, not on the design of the flat-rate allowance, but on the associated proposal to pay it to claimants rather than to their landlords. Local authorities will only be able to pay the LHA to the landlord if they consider that the tenant is 'vulnerable' and incapable of managing their financial affairs, is unlikely to pay their rent or has accrued eight weeks' rent arrears. This report examines HB claimants' understanding, attitudes and experiences of the two different payment methods, that is, payment to the claimant and payment to the landlord. It explores this issue in the context of claimants' attitudes towards their liability to pay the rent and how rent payment fits into their household budgeting more generally.
|Place of Publication||Coventry|
|Publisher||Chartered Institute of Housing|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|