This article highlights a major problem with housing benefit (from The Mirror, Sunday 26th Jan 2014).
Landlords set high rents, which force people to need Government help to afford to live anywhere big enough for their family. Landlords take the money, spending almost nothing on the property, letting it decline. People live in horrendous conditions, unable to afford to move, while landlord makes a healthy profit from the tax payer.
Of course, not all landlords are like this, but far, far too many are…the stories keep coming out to prove it, like this. So, want to cut housing benefit costs? Tackle the problem of crazily high rents. Want to improve the quality of housing? Force landlords to keep their properties in livable condition. This is a bit of an over-simplification of the problem and solution, but demonstrates where the problems do lie.