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Set against a backdrop of the roll out of Universal Credit and frozen 'social' rents, this project focused on the analysis of different approaches to the relationship between rent setting and its interaction with the welfare benefits system through Housing Benefit and Universal Credit. It used the examples of the ‘formula’ approach in setting social rents and the‘Living Rent’ approach, which is being explored by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The report showed that the structure of the welfare benefit system has a profound effect on the disposable incomes of lower paid workers after housing costs are taken into account and, in the absence of some fundamental restructuring of the welfare benefit system, the room for manouevre in rent setting by landlords is very narrow.

The report suggests two possible approaches for setting income-linked rents: to use the 5% tolerance to restructure the pattern of rents across the portfolio, or to invest in order to reduce the costs involved in running a home so that all tenants would benefit.

The report is available to download below:



Anna Clarke

Michael Jones

Chihiro Udagawa

Publication Date

September 2018