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Big council to spend £19m finding benefit tenants private rental homes

liverpool tenants landlords council

Liverpool Council aims to source 400 private sector properties in a bid to house growing numbers of homeless people in the city.

Almost 1,000 families are in temporary accommodation due to a rise in Section 21 eviction notices, fuelled by rent rises caused by an increase in mortgage interest rates. As a result, council costs have risen from £250,000 in 2019 to a projected £25 million by the end of this financial year – a 10,000% increase.

The plan is for households to move into PRS properties for a short period while the council looks for a more permanent solution. This is forecast to cost £19 million until 2029 – a net saving of £121 million if current trends continue.

The council will be responsible for assessing and placing tenants into the properties and will avoid using those where it is found that tenants have been evicted to secure the contract. Monthly rent will be paid in advance, equal to the current Local Housing Allowance rates plus a market top-up.

Damp and mould

Agents or landlords would need to provide properties in vacant possession, in a good state of repair, with valid gas safety and electrical testing certificates and to ensure compliance with the guidance for social landlords on damp and mould. If approved, contracts would start on 1st June for five years.

Councillor Sarah Doyle (pictured), cabinet member for housing, says the homelessness situation in Liverpool is at crisis point.

She adds: “A 10,000% rise in five years is a frightening number and is creating phenomenal pressure on our overall council budget. We need government to take action on a number of levels, not least on revoking Section 21 notices and increasing local housing allowance rates and regulating rents.”

In December, the council launched its Private Sector Housing Intelligence and Enforcement Task Force to go after criminal landlords who exploit vulnerable tenants.

Picture credit: Shutterstock/Alexey Fedorenko