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Housing Benefit Cap (Evictions)

Volume 563: debated on Monday 20 May 2013

13. What redress is available to tenants whose landlords seek to evict them on the grounds that they are housing benefit recipients subject to the benefits cap. (155871)

Landlords must support their tenants in maintaining their tenancy. All those affected by the cap have already been contacted, most of them more than a year ago, so tenants uncertain about their situation should have asked for a review by now, to check that they are receiving all the benefits to which they are entitled. The local authority may consider paying discretionary housing payments, which we have already given them, in negotiations with the landlord, to find a way to avoid eviction.

The Secretary of State is precisely avoiding the point. He knows very well that landlords are using as an excuse for getting rid of tenants, and as a reason to evict them, the fact that they are on the benefits cap. He said that the benefits cap would be a way of bringing rents down, but it is not; it is a way of evicting tenants who are living on benefits. That is appalling, and he needs to do something about it.

On the implementation of the cap, people have had over a year to work on this, and I know that local authorities are working with them; we keep in constant contact with them. We will have given local authorities more than £380 million in discretionary moneys. It is very clear that if the issue is only the cap, there is no requirement for people to be evicted. This is a reality, and authorities must work with them. The hon. Gentleman needs to talk to his party, because it wants to make the cap worse by regionalising it.