London local authorities say there’s been a surge in landlords withdrawing from the sector providing temporary accommodation for homeless households.
A survey by the umbrella organisation called London Councils reveals that between September 2022 and April 2023, 15 boroughs received a Notice to Quit – that’s a legal notice requesting the return of a property – from landlords for 3,531 properties used for temporary accommodation.
This represents a 120 per cent increase on the 1,601 notices received over the same period in 2021-22 and is equivalent to a loss of six per cent of London’s total temporary accommodation stock.
Councils have a duty to secure accommodation for homeless households who qualify for support under housing law and rely heavily on private landlords to fulfil this duty.
‘Temporary accommodation’ is arranged by the council until long-term housing can be found. This accommodation can take the form of a private, council, or housing association property, or a room in a hostel, bed & breakfast, or hotel.
London Councils says some 170,000 people are homeless in the capital and the number of households entitled to homelessness support from a London local authority increased 15.2 per cent between April 2022 and April 2023.
There has also been a dramatic 781 per cent increase in homeless families placed in bed and breakfast accommodation beyond the legal six-week limit. This means 1,287 London families were stuck in B&B accommodation in April 2023 compared to 146 the same month last year.
A spokesperson for London Councils says: “Turbulence in the private rented sector is a key factor behind the capital’s skyrocketing rates of homelessness.
“The combination of fast-rising private rents and a dramatic fall in the availability of rental properties is driving housing pressures in the capital to new extremes.
“Boroughs are seriously struggling to secure temporary accommodation for homeless families.
“Across London we see landlords withdrawing their properties from use as temporary accommodation, with the result that boroughs run out of alternatives and end up placing more and more families with children in unsuitable B&Bs.
“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.”
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