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Recorder reveals how much PSL housing has cost Havering Council

PUBLISHED: 07:16 09 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:47 09 August 2018

The PSL protestors outside of the Havering Town Hall.

The PSL protestors outside of the Havering Town Hall.

Archant

Read the full breakdown of the cost of PSL housing over the last five years, after the Recorder submitted an FOI request.

PSL tenant Samantha Coggins is scared that her PSL home will be taken away from her.PSL tenant Samantha Coggins is scared that her PSL home will be taken away from her.

PSL housing has cost Havering Council more than £41m in the last five years.

The council has spent more than £6.5m over its budget on the 871 Private Sector Leasing properties in Havering since 2013.

A review into every PSL property in the borough was launched by the council last month, and following an FOI (Freedom of Information) request from the Recorder the figures for the cost of the housing has been revealed.

Council leader, Councillor Damian White said that it was reviewing its PSL properties as it was costing too much money, and it has been revealed that since 2013 it has cost the council £41,253,612 - which is £6,507,602 over budget.

A breakdown of how much PSL housing has cost Havering Council over the last five years. Photo: Info.gramA breakdown of how much PSL housing has cost Havering Council over the last five years. Photo: Info.gram

Last year alone PSL cost the overspent £3.8m on PSL - which was not included in the budget, and in 2016-17 it overspent £2,081,454.

Havering residents were recently asked to take part in a consultation and give their views about council budget cuts, as central government funding to Havering has reduced by more than £29m since 2014/15 and the council is expecting a further loss of £7m over the next two years.

By giving all PSL properties back to their landlords this could in theory solve all the council’s problems.

PSL properties are ones that are owned by private landlords, but are managed by the council and in the last five years the council budgeted £34,746,010 for these homes.

Havering Council leader Cllr Damian White at the new Lombard Court council housing development in Romford.Havering Council leader Cllr Damian White at the new Lombard Court council housing development in Romford.

The cost of each PSL house was £7,471.40, which split over a year is roughly £622 a month.

The upkeep and repairs of the 800 plus homes cost £4,708,714 between 2013 and 2018.

That is roughly £5,406 per property over the last five years - around £1,081 a year.

In the last five years the council has overspent on PSL every year, apart from in 2014-15 when they budgeted to spend £7,024,750 and in fact spent £6,810,627 - which was a saving of £214,123.

PSL properties in Orchis Way could be being handed back to their owners.PSL properties in Orchis Way could be being handed back to their owners.

Since it was first announced in July that the council would be reviewing all of its PSL properties, hundreds of residents contacted the Recorder to say they were scared they might be forced to either move as far away as Margate, Harlow, Clacton or Colchester or declare themselves homeless.

Around 250 PSL residents were initially contacted by the council by phone and with letters, and they were told that there properties were being handed back to their landlords.

They were told they had 56 days to find another property, or they would have to accept another property which could be out of the borough - and if they failed to do so they would be declaring themselves homeless.

Following pressure from the Recorder, the leader of Havering Council apologised about the way that he had dealt with the review causing fear amongst families in the borough.

A breakdown of how much PSL housing has cost Havering Council over the last five years. Photo: Info.gramA breakdown of how much PSL housing has cost Havering Council over the last five years. Photo: Info.gram

Cllr White admitted that they “got it wrong” and apologised a number of times in an interview with the Recorder.

He said that the council didn’t give enough information to vulnerable residents and councillors, and that it was a “learning curve.”

He said that every PSL resident will now be visited by a senior housing officer and their housing situation will be re-assessed.

The Recorder understands this is still the latest information from the council.

A breakdown of how much PSL housing has cost Havering Council. Photo: Info.gramA breakdown of how much PSL housing has cost Havering Council. Photo: Info.gram

We are interested to find out what you think about this, do you think that this justifies the council’s decision to get rid of PSL in the borough?

Please send your thoughts to liam.coleman@archant.co.uk or call 0208 477 3826.

The Recorder has set up a Facebook group for PSL tenants who are worried about what has been happening and already has more than 250 members.

To request to join the closed group visit here

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