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Havering Council to find alternative homes for PSL properties following review of housing scheme

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 May 2019

Havering Town Hall

Havering Town Hall

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People living in PSL properties have been told "nobody will be forced to move from their current home" following a review of Havering Council's private sector leased properties.

Havering Council carried out a complete re-assessment of all 878 people living in PSL properties in July last year, after revealing that it was reviewing its PSL properties due to budgetary pressures.

PSL properties are owned by private landlords, but are managed by the council.

As part of the review, each PSL resident was visited by a senior housing officer to have their housing situation re-assessed.

Around one in five households were found to be living in accommodation that was either too large or too small and with either too many or too few bedrooms for their current needs.

The report recommends that officers work with these households to find alternative accommodation more suited to their needs.

It also states that people who were assessed as homeless on or before November 9, 2012 and have lived in temporary accommodation for more than six years should be offered a social tenancy over a five year period.

Councillor Damian White, leader of the council, said: “This review has helped us have a firm understanding of what the future housing and support needs are for those in temporary accommodation.

“The most important thing is to reassure everyone that the PSL scheme will continue and we will make sure we offer the right accommodation and help households who would otherwise become homeless. This commitment remains unchanged.”

PSL tenants received a letter from Havering Council this week which said: “Nobody will be forced to move from their current home.

“Where there is a need to move, a suitable alternative home will be provided.”

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Laurie Cheryl, 26, from Rainham moved out of a refuge into a PSL property in 2014.

The mother-of-two is living in a two-bedroom flat with a 10-year-old son and daughter aged three.

She has been trying to move into a three-bedroom property to have more room for her children, but because she hasn't lived in a PSL property for more than six years, Laurie is unlikely to be offered a social tenancy.

She told the Recorder: “Why do they give you a bidding number for housing and then come up with this rule?

“We're allowed to bid but we're not good enough to get a house because we haven't been here for six years.

“At the end of the day I feel lucky I got the property in the first place because where I was staying before was worse.

“I think they are helping people, but not permanently like we thought they were going to.”

Havering Council also looked at the supply and demand of temporary accommodation based on homeless households.

Due to the changing nature of the market and the challenge to find available private rented housing, the council concluded that it will look at finding a new supply of housing to meet its needs.

The review found that the majority of PSL residents depend on benefits to meet their rental payments and that any future housing solutions should be based on local housing allowance levels to make it affordable for homeless households.

It also shows that 27 per cent of households have significant support needs and their support should be taken into account by the council should they need to move.

Havering Council's report will be discussed at a cabinet meeting next week on Wednesday, May 8.

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