Migrant tenants 'need help' after housing benefit cuts

More help should be given to migrants who need private rental accommodation.

The Housing and Migration Network says that cuts to housing benefit means it is more important than ever to make sure migrants are living in an acceptable standard of housing.

It says that poor private rental accommodation, where 75% of migrants live, can fuel neighbourhood problems and local tensions.

The Network’s new report, UK migrants and the private rented sector, calls for solutions to incentivise good landlords whilst cracking down on bad landlords. It wants to see more licensing and local lettings schemes.

Neil Coles, project lead for the Network, said: “Recent migrants to the UK often have low awareness of their rights and responsibilities as tenants, and are more likely to be exploited, have irregular tenancies or live in HMOs with poor conditions.

“The report is particularly timely as the private rented sector is growing rapidly and is under considerable pressure due to changes in government legislation.”

Roger Harding, head of policy, research and public affairs at Shelter, said: “The findings of this report are echoed in the cases Shelter advisers see on a daily basis: poor, insecure and sometimes dangerous housing provided by a small minority of rogue landlords. The growth and changing demographics of private renting means that a fresh look at how well it functions is urgently needed.”

Separately, it has emerged that 30 families are receiving £1,500 a week in housing benefit to pay for their rent. Another 60 families are getting up to £5,000 a month, and in total, 130 families are being given more than £1,000 a week. This is despite cuts in benefit supposedly capping Local Housing Allowance to £400 a week maximum.