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14 Feb 24

Thurrock Council has revealed the growing challenges it faces in providing housing help to its residents, as the cost-of-living crisis and the exit of landlords from the private rental market put pressure on the system.

The council’s housing service has seen a 22% increase in homelessness demand compared to the same period last year and a similar rise in temporary accommodation placements.

In a homelessness update this week, Thurrock attributes this to a combination of factors, including higher rental costs, lower Local Housing Allowance rates, inflationary pressures on household budgets – and fewer landlords with homes to rent.

‘The number of landlords leaving the market’

Christopher Wade, the council’s head of housing solutions, said: “The council’s ability to mitigate against increases in temporary accommodation, and to discharge appropriately into the private rented sector is significantly impacted by the number of landlords leaving the market.”

He also warns that the Government’s aim of moving asylum seekers from hotels is also adding to the demand for social housing.

Mr Wade adds: “The council is looking at alternative methods of procurement for discharge properties, in particular in the private rental market, in order to diversify our offer to landlords, and recently signed up to Rentsurance, a rent insurance scheme which can cover non-payment of rent up to £2,500 per month for an annual premium of between £350 and £470 per annum.

“This is being offered to landlords as an incentive in place of the financial one, or else in tandem with a reduced financial offer to maximise impact.”

London councils utilising the town’s private rented stock

Thurrock is also seeing, the report highlights, a growing trend of London councils utilising the town’s private rented stock to house people on their social housing waiting lists.

The council is now looking at a housing budget overspend of £468,000 to deal with its growing demand issues.

Councillors will also be told that there is a high turnover of experienced housing officers from Thurrock being attracted to higher salaries with nearby London authorities.

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