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BTL landlords accused of taking advantage of the growing homeless population

We all know that buy-to-let investors provide a vital service for people looking for housing, and yet an article in The Guardian today claims that councils are being ‘ripped off’ by private landlords.

A growing number of people are left with no alternative but to rent privately, with research showing that most tenants are satisfied with their existing landlord, and yet landlords continue to be massively underappreciated and demonised by the mainstream press.

The Guardian makes reference to new figures that show English councils spent £997m on temporary accommodation in 2017-18, a 71% increase on the £584m in 2012-13.


Some councils are reportedly spending up to £200 per head of their population on sheltering homeless households, as a result of the government’s failure to end homelessness.

The number of homeless households in England in temporary accommodation has increased by almost half - 47% - in the last five years, according to official figures.

At the end of June this year, there were 82,310 families in temporary accommodation, up from 55,840 in June 2013.

About 55,000 London households are living in temporary accommodation, and almost 70% of England’s homeless families are based in the capital.

Most London councils rely on small private landlords to provide their temporary accommodation, which means that some landlords can make a profit by renting properties to councils for homeless households.

But somehow, Councillor Darren Rodwell, the London Councils executive member for housing and planning, seems to think that taxpayers are being ‘ripped off’ by the crucial service provided by private landlords.

He said: “These figures show how local authorities and taxpayers are being ripped off by failings in the national approach to this issue.

“The government needs to take action. It’s clear we can’t keep relying on increasingly expensive private-sector accommodation, so more must be done to boost provision of social housing.”

Greg Beales, the campaign director of Shelter, points out that the “long queues of homeless families” turning to councils for help with temporary accommodation are just some of the “unwanted consequences of welfare cuts, rising rents and a failure to build social homes”.

The minister for housing and homelessness, Heather Wheeler, said: “Having somewhere to stay and a place to call home is vital in helping those who are homeless rebuild their lives, and we are determined to make this a reality.

“Temporary accommodation acts as an important safety net – ensuring that the most vulnerable have a roof over their heads until longer-term housing can be found. We’re providing more than £1.2bn to tackle all forms of homelessness, including funding for programmes such as the Private Rented Sector Access Fund, which will support more homeless families into long-term private rented accommodation.”

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Poll: Do you think that taxpayers are being ‘ripped off’ by the service provided by private landlords when it comes to providing people with temporary accommodation?


  • icon

    What a load of utter rubbish it’s government policies that are causing all this and yet again left wing loony so called charity blames the landlord. Allow us to run our businesses off set legitimate costs end red tape and scrap UC pay direct to landlord and u WILL see a reduction in homelessness.


    The Guardian carries a similar story today: 'Housing Secretary James Brokenshire admits Tory policies to blame for homelessness rise'

  • James B

    More of the same propaganda from government using landlords as a scapegoat for their failings , they can’t rightly take the blame for this as they would lose the all important ‘generation rent’ votes so need to keep the story going that it’s all the private landlords fault .. hopefully tenants see through this !!

  • icon

    A B2L portfolio landlord runs his property as a business and pays tax and employes many tradesman and purchases many goods for his her portfolio. It's called a business, it's not called a charity, its not council run off the tax payers payments. We rent out Our properties for a profit because that's how we cover simple Dailey issues like, broken white goods, water leaks, electric issues,gas issues,damage properties,trashed properties, rent voids,rent arrears,mortgage payments,council tax payments, the list is not endless. But again we are not a charity but we reduce the list of homeless persons because as long as we have our rent paid every month we provide Our properties for persons to live in. But been thinking lately, dont need to keep justifying my busieness any more because I might just sell up and go Commercial and then I will be dealing with business people and not stupid clue less councils,charities?, government bods.
    Then the council can start again and provide properties for people to live in, like the did in the 50s 60s and 70s. But they must abide by the rules and not create death traps and cause the biggest fatality in the UK in a single building since the last war!


    Only partially blame the council for Grenfell, most of the blame must be laid at the feet of the Shelter trustees who were implicated in the supply of the cladding.

  • icon

    Why are these people homeless, in 99% of cases they have been evicted, why? because they have not paid their rent, would i rent to some one who has a history of not paying their rent ? no. local council's problem not mine.

  • G romit

    "Greg Beales, the campaign director of Shelter, points out that the “long queues of homeless families” turning to councils for help with temporary accommodation are just some of the “unwanted consequences of welfare cuts, rising rents and a failure to build social homes”."

    "Rising rents" of course has nothing to do with Shelter supporting the war against Landlords in the PRS forcing up their costs and driving others out of the market casing a shortage. And this from a supposed charity that houses no one except their fat cat executives in their nice cosy homes paid for by the donations of general public who think they are helping provide roofs over the heads of the homeless.


    Let me offer some clarification on the housing situation and the resultant homelessness. It is nothing to do with Government policies, nothing to do with Universal Credit, nothing to do with Shelter supporting S24, nothing to do with the enormous tax hikes on private landlords, nothing to do with the governmental failure to build social housing, nothing to do with mindless bureaucracy causing landlords to exit the private sector, nothing to do with Shelter and CAB solicitors hammering landlords for minuscule administrative errors, nothing to do with Shelter solicitors defending delinquent tenants from eviction, nothing to do with the dwindling supply of private accommodation - need I go on?
    There is only one cause of homelessness and I think you can all guess what that is.


    deport all the millions of illegals--no housing shortage


    I'm sorry but I really don't know who or what David Price is blaming for homelessness. Please enlighten me.

  • David Lester

    Why is it that no one in the UK press hasn’t realised that there is direct link to these policies and homelessness? The monies raised with these extra taxes will be paid out ten-fold in housing the homeless, benefits and the NHS, in other words affecting those who are most vulnerable!
    As Landlords we do not want preferential treatment, we need to be treated like any other business, income; minus expenses including borrowings, equals taxable profit!


    The problem lies with how landlords are perceived.
    The general public et al in the UK, seem to view owning housing as a right and that it should not be treated like any other commodity. In other words, the renting of houses for profit is considered to be unacceptable because of this perception.
    The press are generally very negative when it comes to landlords and we are often portrayed as taking advantage of vulnerable people who have to pay what they consider to be 'way over the odds' to rent a property.
    Unfortunately, I can't see how private landlords are viewed changing very much in the near future.


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