London’s local authorities have observed an unintended fallout from the Government’s measures targeting the private rented sector. An increasing number of landlords are backing out from offering temporary housing solutions to homeless households.
London Councils, the body representing the capital’s 33 boroughs, highlighted that the diminishing availability of rented accommodation in the conventional market, coupled with surging rents, is leading several landlords to favour renting their properties to long-term tenants at market rates.
Such a trend is amplifying challenges for the councils. Historically, these bodies have depended on short-term private housing provisions while trying to secure longer-term affordable housing solutions for individuals – a legal obligation for the councils.
According to the council’s recent survey encompassing all 33 boroughs, 15 have received a Notice to Quit (a legal intimation for property repossession) from landlords of 3,531 properties currently serving as temporary homes. This signifies a sharp 120% uptick from the 1,601 notices obtained in the comparable period of 2021-22. It represents a staggering 6% depletion in the overall short-term housing capacity in London.
Addressing the severity of the situation, Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Regeneration, Housing & Planning, commented, “Nobody wants this happening, but boroughs face a complete lack of other options for keeping a roof over an increasing number of homeless families’ heads. The homelessness situation in London is becoming unmanageable. We need the government to treat this as the emergency it is and work with us in reversing the numbers relying on temporary accommodation.”
To tackle this rising crisis, London Councils is advocating for multiple interventions. It is urging the Government to enhance the Local Housing Allowance, unchanged since 2020; empower councils to acquire properties offloaded by private landlords; escalate funding for the Homelessness Prevention Grant, and increase allocations for Discretionary Housing Payments.