This report is the first output from the independent evaluation commissioned by the Government of the recent changes to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and Housing Benefit (HB) in the private rented sector (PRS) in the United Kingdom.
The research programme runs from April 2011 until June 2013 and is organised into three stages. This report concerns the findings from two elements in Stage 1 of the research – a postal survey of landlords and a face-to-face survey of claimants. The surveys are based in 19 case study areas in Great Britain. One cannot, therefore, generalise from the survey findings to assume this represents an accurate national picture of the impact of the LHA measures.
The surveys were undertaken in autumn 2011, several months after the measures had been introduced for new claimants (from 1 April 2011), but before they had an impact on the rents and housing circumstances of existing claimants. This report therefore concerns emerging trends and early signs of impact only.
The surveys will be repeated with both landlords and claimants in autumn 2012 when they will track changes in claimants’ knowledge of LHA, their financial circumstances and patterns of residential mobility and changes in landlords’ knowledge of the measures and in their lettings, management and investment priorities.
It will then be possible to provide a much more robust analysis of the impact of the measures on claimants and landlords alike.