The flight from London starts

Following the announcement that housing benefit is to be capped London tenants are moving-

Inside Housing- ‘Councils in London are arranging to move local housing allowance claimants into accommodation as far away as Hastings, following cuts to housing benefit confirmed in the comprehensive spending review.  

London Councils revealed this week at a meeting of the work and pensions select committee that local authorities in central London have been block-booking private rented accommodation and bed and breakfast rooms in towns across the south of England.’ read more

This news, though not unexpected, is extremely worrying, Southend simply could not cope if this occurs here, we need to put our own residents first and are considering our allocations policy to strengthen this in respect of Southend council stock but private landlords do not have to abide by such policies. Once a resident has become ‘settled’ they become the responsibilty of Southend Council, need school places, health services and can go on our housing list!

10 responses to “The flight from London starts

  1. Wouldn’t it have been so much easier if the promise to license landlords in certain wards had been followed through, you would have a whole bank of responsible landlords to engage in a dialogue with!!

    But no, that was too easy, this will just make all of the rogue landlords even richer.

    Typically short sighted policy as usual

  2. I am looking at what we can do and some steps are already in place. Licensing of HMO’s is being actively pursued in Kursaal ward but many of these units do not fall into the HMO category. I will get a fuller reply in a week or two for you.

  3. Anna, thank you, the 2004 Act allows for ALL private landlords in an area to be licenced, we were told this was being looked at as far back as 2005, yet the situation has just got worse and worse. I am sure you will recognise the great community we have around Kilworth, the love that people have for the area etc. We dont want that ruined! HMOs of all sizes and shapes are a fact of life, which will increase due to recent changes, how will you ensure the Borough as a whole is cohesive and shares the load rather than it all being lumped on 1 or 2 wards?

  4. Licencing landlords would not make any difference to people who cannot afford to live in their current house. What we need to do is ensure that our elected members of whatever party do not allow the development of these types of Bed and breakfast establishments for non commercial use ie homeless hostels, which can then be used by other Councils to migrate their problems here.

  5. I am really fed up with B and B’s that are no such thing , unfortunately the planning system makes it difficult to prevent the change from B and B to hostel. That said we should still try to prevent this from happening and if it does to ensure the place is registered as an HMO etc. Southend Council does not place into B and B’s these days and I am making it very clear to the London Boroughs that should not place their tenants here, without our consent etc.

  6. simon
    I think the points you raise deserve a fuller and more technical response than via a quick blog response. I will get a fuller response for you

  7. Anna the London Boroughs are not going to take any notice they will see it as our problem, like they did when the old palace hotel was up and running there is nothing we can do legally to stop it lets think of other ways ie planning enforcement and lobbing for LHA reforms before its too late

  8. Blackcat, if there is one thing I know about public bodies, it is that that they follow the path of least resistance. If we had a tough licensing regime, with the ability to protect residents from harm, that is existing residents. The landlords would be less inclined to take troublesome tenants and those that were would find themselves bounced back to the authority housing them quickly.

  9. I agree they will take little notice, as you say this occurred before- Then I got myself onto the LGA refugee and asylum panel and took Westminster to task at that level and we got agreement that it would stop- but already we had been used, as for the Palace I started to push for action almost as soon as I was elected and eventually pushed the officers into taking action- I do know the town centre very well. Please be assurred that I have been and am doing all that I can to deal not only with any possible influx re the benefit cap but also inrespect of the existing rogue landlord situation. Unfortunately it takes time, realign priorities and budgets, check legalities etc. and if it is to be done succesfully and for a sustained period I do have to have the officers and colleagues on board as well.

  10. Anna I am very glad you now have Housing in your Portfolio, you seem to be one of the few that make things happen!

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