Ten­ants trapped in sys­tem as coun­cil house lets slump

Warwickshire Telegraph - - NEWS - By DAVID OTTEWELL & JOHN CARLON

MORE than a quar­ter of so­cial hous­ing ten­an­cies in Coven­try are go­ing to some­one who was pre­vi­ously sleep­ing rough or in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion.

New gov­ern­ment data shows there were 2,245 new so­cial hous­ing ten­an­cies started in the city in the year to April 2018.

The num­bers have fallen com­pared to the pre­vi­ous 12 months with ex­perts point­ing to­wards a slump in turnover due to ex­ist­ing ten­ants be­ing priced out of a re­turn to pri­vate rent­ing.

So­cial hous­ing refers to low-cost homes which are al­lo­cated to those in great­est need, gen­er­ally by lo­cal coun­cils or not­for-profit agen­cies.

It in­cludes both so­cial rent homes - where the amount paid is fixed in ac­cor­dance with na­tional guide­lines - and “af­ford­able” homes, where rent can be no more than 80 per cent of rent prices in the pri­vate sec­tor.

So­cial rent homes are al­most al­ways cheaper.

The num­ber of new so­cial hous­ing lets in Coven­try fell from 2,473 in 2016/17, the data shows.

Some 28 per cent of the 2,245 lets in 2017/18 were to a per­son or fam­ily who were pre­vi­ously sleep­ing rough or in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion, which can in­clude hos­tels and bed and break­fasts.

By con­trast 11 per cent went to a house­hold that was pre­vi­ously in pri­vate rented ac­com­mo­da­tion, and 22 per cent went to a house­hold where the lead ten­ant had a job.

More than a quar­ter of new so­cial rents (30 per cent) went to a house­hold with chil­dren, while 7.7 per cent - one in 13 went to a per­son or fam­ily from a Euro­pean coun­try other than the UK.

The av­er­age so­cial rent in Coven­try was £85.40 a week.

That means the av­er­age house­hold that took up a so­cial ten­ancy in 2017/18 was spend­ing 38 per cent of their net in­come on their home.

The data shows that while 2,120 new ten­an­cies in Coven­try were so­cial rent, 125 were af­ford­able rent.

There are 3.9 mil­lion house­holds in so­cially rented homes across Eng­land.

Of those, 13 per cent pay af­ford­able rent while 87 per cent pay so­cial rent.

While the av­er­age so­cial rent stands at £81.50p a week out­side Lon­don, the av­er­age af­ford­able rent stands at £110.77p, or 71 per cent of rent prices in the pri­vate sec­tor.

Na­tion­ally, the num­ber of new so­cial let­tings fell by six per cent in 2017/18 com­pared to 2016/17.

Three-quar­ters of the new let­tings went to sin­gle adults, with black house­holds over-rep­re­sented.

In a re­port on the fig­ures, the Min­istry of Hous­ing, Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment said the fall in the num­ber of new ten­ants could re­flect a lack of sup­ply caused by peo­ple un­able or un­will­ing to leave ex­ist­ing so­cial ten­an­cies.

The re­port said: “A widen­ing af­ford­abil­ity gap be­tween the so­cial and pri­vate rental sec­tors, es­pe­cially in Lon­don and the South East, dis­cour­ages cur­rent so­cial ten­ants from mov­ing into pri­vate ac­com­mo­da­tion. As a re­sult, turnover is lower in these ar­eas.”

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