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Private tenants caught in a rent trap – and sinking

There are so many repositories of destitution and hopelessness in Britain today that adding another does not evoke the horror it should:

  • There the million or more persons who have been ‘sanctioned’ – deprived of all their benefit income by DWP for 4 weeks for some trivial (or invented) infringement of the benefit rules, then for 3 months for a second breach, and 3 years (!) for a third, without in many cases being told why.
  • Then there is a large proportion of the 1.6 million moderately or severely disabled persons on Incapacity Benefit who are being told after a cursory interview that they are fit for work even there is no work available in the local area that they could possibly do, even if they had the right skills, and even when their mental or physical handicaps ruled them out in competition in the local labour market – yet their benefit is still cut drastically.
  • There are the million or more frail elderly, often with Alzheimer’s, who are now deprived of essential care they need because of the £2.7bn reduction in the social care budget.
  • And there the helpless and vulnerable mentally ill who are desperately in need of greater support to survive, but who are bullied,intimidated and tricked by DWP into giving up the benefits they’re entitled to.
  • But there is still another group who are fast growing in number and caught up in a rent trap from which they cannot escape.


A new study by the English Housing Survey has found that private sector tenants live in the worst housing in the country, pay a higher proportion of their gross income on housing costs, but are snared in a rent trap from which there is no escape but which is steadily dragging them down into destitution. Those who own their homes pay on average 20% of their income on housing costs and tenants of social landlords pay 30%, but tenants of private landlords pay 40%. Yet a third of private tenants’ homes have been found to be in poor or bad condition, compared with a fifth of owner-occupied homes and just a seventh of social rented homes. Worst of all, the government is actually encouraging these trends – putting up a fund of up to £6.5bn of guarantees for private landlords to buy yet more homes.

Private tenants now today cost the government more in housing benefit than social benefit. According to the survey, social tenants get an average get £77 a week in housing benefit while private tenants get £109. Of the 4 million households who now live in privately rented homes, fewer than a third of them had gross household incomes of more than £700 a week, yet their average rent was £163 a week. The cost of renting made it almost impossible for them to save up for a deposit to buy a house and almost no socially rented homes are being currently built. They are in a tightening rent trap and living – surviving – silently often in awful conditions.

One Comment

  1. Robert says:

    Well yes I will not argue with this sadly what will labour do if we have Miliband he’s now controlled totally by Progress so what do you want us to do vote UKIP. because voting labour or Tory is basically the same Miliband is now to the right slipping further under the control of a Pr5ogress One nation.

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