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  • Property-a-holics

    Families being evicted to house the homeless



    A social housing firm is evicting 74 families in Peterborough so it can accommodate the homeless .

    Residents have been told by social housing firm Stef & Philips they must get out before Christmas after the firm won a contract with Peterborough City Council to provide people in need with accommodation.

    The council have responded as follows:

    Adrian Chapman, service director for adults and communities for Peterborough City Council, said:

    "Like many cities across the UK, Peterborough currently has a severe shortage of properties available for temporary accommodation and an increasing number of people needing housing support. 

    "We sincerely regret that the current tenants of these properties will have to find somewhere else to live, but that is entirely a decision for the new owners and will happen whether or not we use the homes. That said, we will of course be supporting these residents if they require help finding alternative accommodation.

    "If we didn't make use of these properties, Stef and Philips Limited would rent them out to another organisation, most likely another council. It would be foolish of the council to take this approach as the current tenants would still face eviction, it would not help address our need for additional housing and could result in the council being responsible for meeting the needs of residents from outside Peterborough placed in St Michael's Gate".

    Full/source story

    If this isn't evidence of a housing crisis, then what is?!

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    Here is the brochure of the property, St Michaels Gate, for sale https://pdf.savills.com/documents/St%20Michaels%20Gate_brochure.pdf

    As you can see, when it was advertised, the rent reserved was £526,340, with Savills estimating that further refurbishment could nudge that up to £685k

    And yet the council has entered into a deal that will will cost it £966,337 per year for three years, with a break at the end of year 2  (https://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/...-1-7610089 )

    Moreover, the owner of the property is a company called Paul Simon Magic Group Investments Ltd.  The purchase price was £8.05m on 4 July 2016.  There are common directors and shareholders between this company and the managing agent company mentioned in the press report Stef & Philips

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    Here is the transcript of the local MP talking about this in Parliament

    https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/20.../StMichael

    This particular piece is eyecatching and follows on from my last post on this matter.

    "I will finish by asking the Minister to examine the loophole in the housing benefit regulations, because effectively it means that instead of 74 families having assured shorthold tenancies that generated an income of £659,000 a year, Stef & Philips—by treating each unit as a temporary overnight homelessness unit, with the £60 per week management fee, inflated rents and the local housing allowance subsidy level—is able to bring in £966,000 of taxpayers’ money a year. In short, the key issue is the disparity in the housing benefit levels that are paid between rented accommodation in the private sector and what is achievable when the accommodation is utilised by the local authority for temporary accommodation.

    As I say, I ask the Minister to review those regulations and particularly the management fee, because this site is not a foyer for young people or a housing association property for people with special educational needs or mental health problems. To all intents and purposes, it is de facto mainstream normal housing, albeit that it is temporary and is now being used to accommodate homeless people."

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