The growing Housing Benefit spend in the private rented sector

This briefing examines the reasons and factors behind the recent growth in Housing Benefit expenditure in the private rented sector.

20 August 2016

In summary:

  • The number of private renters in receipt of Housing Benefit has increased by 42% in the last seven years.
  • Today, one in three (32%) Housing Benefit recipients are private renters.
  • Almost half (47%) of all private rented households in receipt of Housing Benefit are in work.
  • Housing Benefit awards in the private rented sector are 23% higher than in the social rented sector.
  • An average private rented household receives ~£1,000 more over the course of a year than a social rented household, rising to £3,300 in London. In total this means an additional spend of ~£1.5bn per year.
  • Private renters not only receive higher levels of Housing Benefit, they also live in homes that are of lower quality than social rented homes.