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Renters Facing Rising rent and unemployment

Millions facing a ‘Toxic Cocktail’

New research from Royal London highlights that soaring levels of rent and a post-referendum rise in unemployment could create a ‘toxic cocktail’ for millions of renters due large gaps in the housing benefit ‘safety net’.

This applies just as much in Cornwall as anywhere else.

The research paper, called Renters at Risk (click the link to be taken to their website for the report) highlights that their analysis has found that for the period 2013/2014, 5.5 million working adults wouldn’t have qualified for full housing benefit if they lost their jobs. Back in 2003/2004 this figure was nearer 2 million – the result is those at risk have more than doubled in 10 years.


The report identified several areas of concern including:-

Couples who rent a home based on two wages

This group was identified as one who would struggle to pay the rent on one wage. The Housing Benefit earnings taper would likely disqualify many couples from receiving help due to the remaining wage making them fall outside of assistance.

Single people under 35 who rent privately

The Housing Benefit system only covers the cost of renting a room in a shared house. This is not going to help you much if you rent a home rather than a room.

People with ‘spare bedrooms’

The Housing Benefit system bases help on the number of bedrooms you deemed to need i.e. if a family has two parents and two children you would be deemed to need only two bedrooms as the children can share (even if they have separate bedrooms currently). As a result housing benefit is likely not to cover the actual rent being paid.

People living in the more desirable parts of an area

The Housing Benefit system rates for private renters now only matches rent in the cheaper parts of an area. I believe this is based on the lowest 30% of rents across the area. As a result you could find that benefits may not cover the actual rent required and as a result may have to move out of the area to find a home where the housing benefit level covers the rent. This may have an impact of those living in certain areas of Newquay or Truro for example.

If after reading this you have concerns then it may be beneficial to speak to a financial adviser to see what protection products could help you and provide peace of mind.

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Last updated: 17th August 2016

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