138,547 ‘benefit households’ to be refused ‘social housing’ per year.

Housing associations and council landlords will no longer house many benefit households due to the overall benefit cap – around 138,547 families per year is the approximate and cautiously low number!

To explain with those pesky fact called numbers:

  • Social landlords let 384,854 properties according to official figures for 2014/15.
  • English Housing Survey tells us 36% of social housing is 3 bed or larger properties.
  • No social landlord can afford to let a 3 bed property due to the overall benefit cap.
  • Therefore 36% of the yearly 384,854 properties are statistically likely to be 3 bed or larger properties yet will not be let to the benefit household.
  • Ergo, 138,547 of the poorest most vulnerable families, will not get social housing

If social landlords will not house them due to affordability (see below) the private sector will not house them either, so the question becomes Where will they live?


A couple with 3 children receive a maximum housing benefit of £50 per week in the regions and this maximum housing benefit is £45 – 50 per week less than an average typical 3 bed rent with a social landlord in the regions (£98) and nearly £100 per week less than a social housing 3 bed rent in Guildford at circa £145 per week – and more if on the affordable (sic) rent basis.

No housing association or council landlord can afford the benefit tenant household that fully occupies a 3 bed property.

No housing association or council landlord is obligated in any way or has any legal duty to house any family. Legal duties to provide accommodation exist on a council such as temporary and more permanent housing after homelessness, yet that is on the council not on the council landlord.

The council landlord is entitled to tell the council’s homeless department and social services department sorry we will not house this family due to the fact they cannot afford the rent.  As of course is the housing association landlord.

Social landlords are businesses and they can and will refuse to house the benefit household because of the benefit cap policy reducing its overall level by 23% and by £6,000 per year from 7 November 2016.

It is of no consequence if the benefit household is unable to work due to an incapacity – and 16% of the current capped households do – the fact remains they simply cannot afford the cheapest possible rent because the government will not pay for the costs of putting a roof over their heads.

No job no roof is government policy with the benefit cap

The prefix social becomes a misnomer in front of landlord due to the benefit cap so any such valid arguments I have made about the increasingly asocial traits of housing associations are largely irrelevant.  We cannot afford you so we won’t house you is much more a business necessity than an asocial act.

That said, the rapidly increasing affordable (sic) rent model means that housing associations can no longer afford the benefit household with two children and in some part of the country the couple with one child in a 2 bed property will be hit by the benefit cap.

Social (sic) housing is a benefit household no go area due to the benefit cap

Where will the incapacitated benefit household live?  Where will the not expected to work benefit household live? By that I mean the lone parent with pre-school age children that is a cohort which accounts for over 60% of all benefit-capped households.

How many children will be punished for the sins of their parent(s) with the benefit cap?  The sin of being unable to work due to an incapacity even if that incapacity means – according to the government’s discredited work capability assessment – that the parent will be able to do some work if given support in up to two years time which is the essence and rationale of the ESA work-related activity group.

Up to two years or 104 weeks that will will see an average £76 per week cut in housing benefit each week will see that unable to work benefit household evicted and made homeless well before that time.

Where will they live?


Further reading and detail here, here, here and in 50+ previous posts over the past 5 years

The social housing model was (note past tense!) one of five key elements of the 1948 Welfare State that sees the country putting a roof over the heads of its most vulnerable,  This is dead due to the Benefit Cap.  Think on it!

PS – 138,547 households in this case is 644,244 men women and children or the entire population of Liverpool and York combined! Go figure!


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