The February residential market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) showed that around one third of RICS members say homeless people and those on housing benefits are being pushed out of the private rental market as rents rise and benefits are cut.
RICS worked in conjunction with Crisis (the homelessness charity) to produce the report, and is now calling for more support for vulnerable tenants. Nearly a third of respondents cited recent caps to housing benefits as a key reason why those on lower incomes were being pushed out of the rental market. New figures show rents are likely to rise by over 20% over the next five years, so the situation is likely to get worse.
RICS notes that 52% of private landlords would house homeless people or vulnerable tenants if the government acted as a rent deposit guarantor, so their deposit and rent would be protected. The situation is already becoming more difficult for vulnerable tenants as the survey showed that there is a growing shortage of available properties. Tenant demand is exceeding the number of new instructions on the market for the thirty-eighth consecutive month, and by an increasing margin.
The Crisis charity argues that the government is already helping first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder, but more needs to be done to help the most vulnerable tenants.