As the weather gets wetter and colder thoughts always turn to those less fortunate.

This blog is looking at the drivers for homelessness and there is a sneak peak of a charity event coming up at the end if you want to help make a difference.

Govt Policy

Politicians are supposed to be there for the good of society but they need votes to have influence and there lieth the problem.

A recent video on my YouTube channel ‘Letting Agents in Brighton‘ touched on Govt plans to scrap Section 21. The Lib Dems and Labour agree with this policy. The industry as always is doing its best to advise likely consequences just like the Tenant Fees Bill, but will Govt fail to listen again?

Section 21 does not record the reason for the notice although it is widely understood rent arrears are the main driver, followed by the Landlord selling & anti-social behaviour.

Govt are likely to enhance Section 8 Notice for the route to possession however this does record the reason as well as a likely County Court Judgement to reclaim any arrears. A CCJ would prevent the Tenants from passing referencing for a potential next home or obtaining any credit for 5 years.

While local authorities have a legal obligation to re-house those who have been made homeless by S21, they do not for those who may have technically made themselves homeless by S8.

Data from the Ministry of Justice reports that there were 22,527 accelerated possession claims issued in 2018 (Section 21 claims). Of those accelerated possession claims under Section 21, 10,127 resulted in evictions carried out by County Court bailiffs.

So if S21 is binned and these Tenants cannot be re-housed in social housing or the Private Rental Sector where exactly will they go?

Not only the above but scrapping S21 will likely lead to a % of Landlords exiting the market since regaining possession to sell from Tenants in arrears or behaving anti-socially will become harder. The National Landlords Association recent survey estimates approx 1mill homes will be lost to the sector. This will push rents up and how does that actually help Tenants?

Proposed Labour Policy

Labour are promising many things including rent controls. The last time rent controls were used in UK it led to the Private Rental Sector shrinking to smallest on record.

So choice goes down and rents go up.

Another vote winning Labour policy is the proposed Right to Buy your rental property. A recent survey by LandBay showed only 42% of UK Tenants actually want to buy suggesting that lifestyle choices are driving this change. EG 25% of those surveyed stated flexibility was the main reason for renting.

If Labour win and this is made into policy Landlords will again exit the market at the moment and price they choose, reducing stock, increasing rents… I’ve heard this before somewhere.

What happens to vulnerable Tenants on low income. With waiting lists for social housing often up to 12 months where do they go in this scenario?

How does any of the above actually help people barring MPs?

Social Housing

The National Housing Federation recently advised the Housing Crisis is affecting 1 in 7 people across the UK, or 8.4million.

Others are living in overcrowded homes; or cannot afford to move out of unsuitable properties where they live, for example, with parents or ex-partners. Some are at risk of homelessness, while others are stuck in properties that they physically cannot get around in, or are families with no outdoor space.

Almost half the total, 3.6m, would do better to live in a social rented home. This is the crux of the problem, lack of affordable housing, especially social housing.

The annual Homelessness Monitor shows that 70% of local authorities in England are struggling to find any stable housing for homeless people in their area, while a striking 89% reported difficulties in finding private rented accommodation.

Part of the issue is that the Private Rental Sector is designed for professional rather than social Tenants, which often affects choice. On the other side there are currently 1.1million people on the social housing waiting list.

The amount of social housing for rent fell from the peak of around five million in the early 1980s to just under four million in the mid-2000s, but it has been slowly rising since. This has mainly been driven by an increase in housing association homes. The proportion of all social housing provided by councils has generally been falling since the 1980s.

Full Fact charity state this is falling roughly in line with Right to Buy purchases since Thatcher. These sold social housing units should have been replaced 1 for 1 by local authorities who self-regulate the obligation.

To cap it all off Housing Association units are more expensive to run than Social Housing so this approach is costing local communities more in council tax.

Suggestions to Solve the Crisis?

UK population has grown 7.8million since the 80’s. Affordable Housing has not kept up and that is the main reason why we have a Housing Crisis and 320,000 UK homeless according to Shelter.

The National Housing Federation is calling for £12.8bn a year over the next ten years to build 340,000 new homes, including 145,000 new social homes.

Homeless charity Shelter reported in JAN-19 1.3million homes are needed in the UK to solve the Housing Crisis.

Govt is planning 250,000 homes for social rent by 2022, but we have heard housing promises from most of the 17 housing ministers over the last 20 years.

For the good of those suffering from continually poor Govt policy what we need is action, not words.

What Can You Do?

If you feel strongly about homelessness The 2nd Big City Sleepout in Brighton will be happening at the i360 late December this year, with 50 spaces available and a £300 target per attendee. We will be raising much needed funds for The Clock Tower Sanctuary who help the young homeless back onto their feet. This is what happened in DEC-18.

Due to the time of year this is definitely for the brave and hardy and those who like a challenge!

If you are interested please contact me on the details below and I will provide more information in the coming weeks.


If you need any assistance letting your property in Brighton, Hove, Kemptown and surrounding areas or if you just have some general queries please feel free to contact us on +44 (0)1273 646426 or lettings@bishopsullivan.co.uk

Best Regards,


Julian Bishop

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