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  • Property-a-holics

    Edinburgh Council in breaches of homeless law



    The City of Edinburgh Council breached housing legislation 466 times in the last year by placing homeless families in bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation for more than the seven-day legal limit, it has been revealed.

    Current laws dictate that local authorities should only place homeless families in B&Bs in emergency circumstances. Homeless families with children or pregnant women must be moved from B&Bs within seven days.

    However, figures obtained under freedom of information law by investigative journalist platform The Ferret, and published in tandem with the Sunday National, show that 598 families were put in B&Bs from September 2017 to September 2018.

    As many as 466 families – 79% of the total – spent eight days or more in B&B accommodation. Almost a third spent more than a month in B&Bs and one in five were there for over six weeks. Eight families were not moved by the council for more than three months.

    Many of the B&Bs have been criticised as substandard, over-crowded and unsuitable for children.

    Spending on temporary accommodation in Edinburgh is the highest in Scotland at over £190 million over the last five years. The number of people in temporary accommodation rose 89% from 661 households in 2010 to 1,246 in 2017, the highest rise by far in the country.

    The council has acknowledged the crisis and claims it is struggling to address problems due to the combined pressures of rising rents, intense demand and the introduction of the benefit cap in January.

    Full/source article 

    SEE ALSO  -         Cost of temporary accommodation on the rise

    UP NEXT -            What causes homelessness in the UK?

    DON'T MISS -        1 in 4 landlords to exit due to Section 24

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    I visit Edinburgh several times a year and the number of homeless people on the street is heartbreaking.  The families of course are the 'hidden' homeless as they are, at least, provided with some accommodation.  It seems emergency accommodation across the UK is frequently sub standard, as councils pay as little as possible to meet their legal responsibilities.

    Alongside the reasons given in the article, has anyone connected the increase in homelessness to the decrease in supply?  An article I saw recently suggested that a worrying number of landlords had sold up in Scotland due to abolishment of S21 and the new indefinite tenancies required since December 2017.  How many of those were in Edinburgh I don't know.

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    This is a clear indication of the results of removing the ability to reclaim your property through the use of Section 21.  Scotland has removed the Assured Shorthand Tenancy agreement and this is what some politicians wish to do in England.  Can you imagine the hardship!!

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    Scotland never had ASTs. It's equivalent was the SAT.The new PRT only applies to tenancies created since 1 Dec 2017. The PRT doesn't look too bad. Landlords can evict to sell and evicitng for non-payment of rent looks easier than S8G8. It is too early to tell though.

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    Yes I agree the PRT is no where near as bad as many landlords expected. But landlords who were renting out their own homes whilst they work away on one or two year contracts (soldiers, medics, builders etc) may have second thoughts now, due to the requirement to offer an indefinite tenancy.  They may feel the risk of not being able to reclaim their home is too great, due to the need to go to tribunal.

    I suspect S24 may be the prime reason for the increase in landlords selling, as NLA and RLA small surveys suggest

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    I have been a social landlord for almost 15 years and providing homes for more than 50 Edinburgh families!  For the first time ever, I am evicting tenants just to survive post section 24

    I could assume the ridiculous section 24 won’t be rolled out fully but if it is I will go bust and more than 50 families will be out.  I am selecting flats that are high yielding and on low rates to keep, for those in my flats with rents (which I was happy with) which are relatively low, it is eviction time for them.

    I do feel like a heartless scum landlord but it is not my doing.... one girl was paying me almost £650 per month (housing benefit rate) but with a 5.2 interest rate and high mortgage I had to put her out two weeks ago.  Her stuff is still in my flat so I assume she is still in a b&B.  The council then offered me more than £950 to put the flat on their scheme which they could then put her in but it still doesn’t stack up post section 24 so time to sell.

    Great for a novice landlord to scoop up with cash giving more than 8% yield.  Bottom line, I put a girl out who was paying roughly £20 per night, she goes into B&B costing hundreds per night then the council offer the new landlord more than £30 per night, they are all mad.

    What disturbs me even more is that nobody is interested in our story!  Thousands of people “sleeping in the park” to end homelessness when I could fix it in 5 minutes by knocking a few heads together.

    Nothing to do with s21 or change of leases, it just doesn’t add up anymore.

    I have several portfolio landlord friends in Edinburgh selling up, multiply that over the country and there is indeed trouble ahead

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    Yes my council and i expect most councils constantly and consistently break this law

    The government is chasing its tail and cannot stem the homeless flood

    Its has an  inability though to swallow its pride and admit it got things wrong

    They use us as a scapegoat whereas we are the ones which could solve the problem

    S24 will lead to more and more homeless as more and more LL`s will exit and sell

    Something will have to give eventually but i do not know who will blink first

    When tenants and LL`s eventually unite against the common enemy there may be a chance

    But we are both sporadic groups and would find  coordinated effective action difficult

    We haven't traditionally been on the same side and worked together

    The government knows this so will wilfully ignore any call to change direction


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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    In England the B&B limit is supposed to be 6 weeks but I have read several stories of people being in such for over 6 years.

    The tipping point may well come when Social Landlords are refusing great swathes of benefit claimants on basic affordability grounds.

    Noting the some 46% of OBC capped households are in Social Housing.

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    Yes that`s right 6 weeks . I was surprised at just the 1 week limit in Edinburgh.

    I wonder if that is across the board in  Scotland

    I  periodically get calls  from prospective tenants in places 10 - 50 miles away from me who have been in a hotel for several months cramped in one room with 2 kids saying they will take any property just  to get back home where schools / doctors are etc . I tell them the council has broken the law and they should get on their case but unfortunately many lack the will and necessary functionality to challenge them as they are just concerned with day to day survival

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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    That is a valid point Jonathan - living hand to mouth is not conducive to upsetting the body which is housing you - even if only in one room.

    Unfortunately choosing to have kids closes door on many chances of increasing income - whilst at same time adding to housing need and cost thereof.

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