Newham Council has approved a radical new plan to buy up properties where tenants have been threatened with eviction because their landlord no longer wants to let the property as temporary accommodation.
The London borough has earmarked an initial budget of £20 million under its Preventative Eviction Acquisitions Programme which would help it to acquire up to 44 homes.
Its plan aims to prevent further homelessness and deliver affordable and accessible housing to be let at London Housing Allowance (LHA) rent, creating more affordable units than the market would have delivered if the existing owners were to sell the properties on the open market.
Newham has the highest number of households in temporary accommodation in the country (5,878), and of these, 3,193 were placed in expensive nightly booked properties.
Due to rising interest rates, anticipated changes in PRS regulation and increasing market rents, some private landlords are looking to sell their properties or achieve higher market rents, reports the council.
It has been given notice on more than 300 privately owned properties that are used by the council as nightly paid accommodation, currently managed by temporary accommodation managing agents.
The council has also seen a significant rise in homelessness applications where a private landlord has begun eviction proceedings against a tenant.
Biut it admits that at this early stage in the process, it isn’t clear how many landlords would be willing to sell properties to the council.
Councillor Shaban Mohammed (pictured), cabinet member for housing management and modernisation, says losing these homes forces it to consider expensive, insecure alternatives such as B&Bs.
He adds: “We support London Councils in urging the government to take immediate action to provide local authorities with the funding and powers needed to address the housing crisis.
"This includes raising Local Housing Allowance, boosting the homelessness prevention grant and discretionary housing payments and providing more investment to enable councils to acquire more homes.”