Propertymark has set out the case for an increase in benefits for private tenants.
Timothy Douglas, Propertymark's Head of Policy and Campaigns was invited to give evidence to the Department for Work and Pensions Commons Committee hearing on the current benefit levels in the UK.
He outlined the impact they are having on the private rented sector.
Douglas told MPs: “Propertymark and other experts representing landlords, tenants, policymakers, and the homeless looked at a vast array of areas Local Housing Allowance impact those across the housing sector and we stressed that the DWP should engage more with landlords and recognise they are stakeholders in the housing allowance scheme.
“The demand for rented property continues to outstrip supply in a highly competitive market.
“Evidence from a survey of Propertymark members shows that demand is up 24 per cent in April 2023 compared to the previous year.”
Douglas stated that benefits are not keeping up with rising rent, and further pressure has been placed on the PRS because of low social housing stock, leading to vulnerable tenants being priced out of the market.
He adds: “The decision to phase out Mortgage Interest Relief and other unfavourable taxation policies is resulting in landlords facing unprecedented financial challenges.
“If a decision not to implement a pro-growth taxation agenda for the private rented sector is not brought forward, it will be the most vulnerable tenants who are negatively impacted, many of whom are in receipt of benefits.
“The UK Government must increase housing options for the most vulnerable by setting Local Housing Allowance at the thirtieth percentile, if not the fiftieth, and to increase this annually to keep pace with market rents.
“A change in rhetoric is also needed with policymakers viewing private landlords and letting agents as part of the solution to resolve the housing crisis.
"After pressing them to do so, we are pleased to see that the Department for Work and Pensions is now investigating ways in which it can engage with membership bodies such as Propertymark and our partnership with the Valuation Office Agency will continue to ensure that letting agents provide rental data to support rent officer valuations and housing benefits.”