Private landlords are turning away social tenants at a time when they are needed most to meet housing need, the Chartered Institute of Housing conference has heard.
Addressing delegates at the CIH conference in Harrogate this week, Richard Price, director of operations at the National Landlords Association (NLA), said one in five private landlords was now refusing to take on new tenants in receipt of the local housing allowance.
The retreat follows government plans to overhaul the welfare system, reducing the local housing allowance to a maximum of £400 a week for a four bedroom property, pricing many tenants out of the private market.
When surveyed by the NLA, 90% of landlords said they could not afford to reduce the rent they charged to adapt to the new rules.
“The government is trying to set prices in a market where tenants cannot cut costs to make the number stack up,” Mr Price said.
Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation, said building new homes was the best way to meet housing need, but greater incentives were needed to encourage development. He proposed ‘housing zones’, which would work like the government’s existing enterprise zones and encourage new development by offering tax breaks and planning incentives to house builders.
Research from the Resolution Foundation highlighted the urgent need for a greater supply of housing across the UK; it found it would take the average low or middle income earner 45 years to save a deposit for a first time buyer home, based on monthly savings of 5% of income.
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