Council reveals its housing crisis as private landlords sell up

Council reveals its housing crisis as private landlords sell up

19:03 PM, 27th September 2023, About 2 months ago 15

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West Lothian Council is facing a housing crisis as the cost-of-living crisis has forced many private landlords to sell off their properties, leaving former tenants in need of accommodation.

In a report by the council’s housing needs manager, Sarah Kelly, around 100 private landlords in West Lothian sold up their properties in 2022, resulting in a loss of 170 rented homes.

She said that most of the tenants who were evicted from their private tenancies turned to the council for housing, increasing the demand for temporary and permanent accommodation.

Ms Kelly told a meeting of the Governance and Risk Committee that the council had a more stable relationship with the private sector than neighbouring Edinburgh, which was more affected by the short term let market.

Pressure on the council’s budget

However, she added that the cost-of-living crisis had hit the costs of both private and hotel accommodation, putting pressure on the council’s budget, Edinburgh Live reports.

Ms Kelly said: “The increased costs and overspend in housing need is largely to do with the provision of B&B. We rely on B&Bs.

“The cost-of-living crisis has also hit costs in hotel provision.”

She also said that there was a growing lack of trust in the private rented sector (PRS) from tenants who had been served with eviction notices.

Ms Kelly explained: “They are very reluctant to consider private tenancy again.”

Renting in the private sector

The council was told that its homes are considered by many to be a better option than renting in the private sector, as it has a very low turnover of properties and offers long term security.

However, the council has a limited supply of homes available with only 560 properties to let last year and a waiting list of around 10,000 applicants.

A report to the committee spells out the problem: “There continues, however, to be a high backlog of homeless applicants where the council has a statutory duty to secure a permanent outcome.

“As of February 2023, the backlog of open homeless cases was 1,188.

“This, along with the high demand for temporary accommodation and the low supply of available permanent lets across the social rented sector has reduced turnover in suitable temporary accommodation stock and subsequently caused an ongoing reliance on the use of B&B accommodation to meet the council’s statutory homeless duties.”

Shared temporary tenancies and supported accommodation

The council has developed a range of policies to address the housing crisis, including the development of shared temporary tenancies and supported accommodation – and it is investing in a buy back scheme.

The Conservative group leader, and chair of the governance and risk committee, Councillor Damian Doran-Timson, blamed the SNP/Green Scottish Government for the housing situation.

Edinburgh Live reports him saying: “It is concerning that more and more private landlords are leaving the housing market putting even greater stresses on West Lothian Council housing.

“At a time when the market needs more properties, we are seeing a sharp reduction in availability.

“Whilst cost of living pressures may be the reason behind some of the landlords are not keeping properties, I have no doubt a bigger factor is the anti-landlord and anti-business policies of the SNP/Green Scottish Government.”

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7:16 AM, 28th September 2023, About 2 months ago

10,000 applicants for 560 properties! Reminds me of the no doubt apocryphal wartime story of the waiting time for a maternity bed being 11 months.


9:23 AM, 28th September 2023, About 2 months ago

I know a number of tenants that live alone in both social housing and the private rental sector.

There are couples who have a property each but live together most of the time. They are incentivised to do this by the benefits system and receive much higher benefits by pretending to live apart.

The system is seriously flawed.


9:40 AM, 28th September 2023, About 2 months ago

With the constant vendetta against landlords - I’m not surprised many are selling up!

Ian Narbeth

9:41 AM, 28th September 2023, About 2 months ago

"[Ms Kelly] also said that there was a growing lack of trust in the private rented sector (PRS) from tenants who had been served with eviction notices."

This shows the cynicism of Left Wing politicians (though Conservatives south of the border are not much better). Persecute the providers of a service relentlessly and then blame them for the obvious consequences of taking action to stop the persecution.

Michael Booth

11:33 AM, 28th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Not has if the authority and government weren't told constant attacking of landlords , constant defending bad tenants , tax, licencing constantly moving the goal posts in regulation its akin to mental tourcher for landlords.


12:30 PM, 28th September 2023, About 2 months ago

The war on landlords is being waged even more fiercely in Scotland and Wales than in England and its hardly surprising that this is where the biggest landlord exodus is taking place. Councils covering that up by pretending its due to the "cost of living crisis" will just prolong the problem.

Martin Roberts

16:44 PM, 28th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Who would have thought it?

Bristol Landlord

18:16 PM, 28th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Nothing to worry about, Govt Ministers have a cunning plan. Harass Landlords until they sell up, rake in loads of extra GCT money from departing landlords, spend that extra money on tax breaks for their wealthy mates in the BTR sector who will build lots of shiny new apartments for the more affluent tenants, take a seat on the Board of their favourite BTR corporation or take an “advisor” gig (as did George Osbourne at Blackrock) and then retire comfortably on a gold plated Govt pension.
Oh, but what about the 10,000 homeless on the Council waiting list you may ask? No problem, the Govt with taxpayer money will set up a local cardboard box factory to manufacture boxes for the homeless to live in. This kills two birds with one stone and creates great headlines “Govt provides jobs and homes”.
Everyone lives happily ever after, end of story.

Neil Robb

20:46 PM, 28th September 2023, About 2 months ago

So nothing to do with imposing the prt private rental tenancy . With 18 clauses of which two were to be in landlords favor . Then at last minute watered down.

Then we had FTT first tier tribunal system. Where almost immediately a huge back log occurred .

Ment to be free for all users but the biased towards a landlord is ridiculous.

One mistake error and case kicked out.

Many waited 8 months to a 1 year to find out if landlord was aloud a hearing or not.
No complaints procedure against FTT poor decisions .

Then we had COVID restrictions.

They introduced rent and eviction ban .
Announced Monday brought in Tuesday.

Extended twice due to cost of living .

Yet those most evicted by cost of living are in social housing they got rent increase last April then after first six months social housing are allowed to increase rents by 11.6% .

When this was pointed out they said private landlords can increase rent by 3%. If the were in financial hardship up to 6%.

One landlord has to give over 45 different pieces of financial information including his wife's and children's bank accounts.

This would be given to rent officer and no doubt tenant.

Let's put this into prospective £500 rent increase £15 if allowed 6% a whole £30 a month . So mortgage up £150 a month and the max you can increase rent is £30.

Patrick Harvie claims landlords are not effected by cost of living .

Student in HMOs are now exempt this rent increase ban .
Even though they would be some of the lowest earners.

Call me suspicious but major developer threatened to pull £200 million pounds HMO accommodation.

Suddenly they could change policy.

I could go on . But is it any wonder landlords are giving up.

Additional stamp duty 6%

Landlord registration.

Double council tax .

Council tax exemption getting less depending on district.

Heavy handiness by councils dealing with landlords .

But hey it is landlords fault .

Frank Jennings

23:50 PM, 28th September 2023, About 2 months ago

No this cant be a crisis. All those properties that were in the PRS and now sold off are now available to be bought by the renters. The Marxists have said so, it must he true! What do you mean, these renters can't afford to buy them? That's poppycock. They could pay the rent couldn't they? Why cant they afford the mortgage, after all it cheaper than the rent, isin't it?
It must be the right causing trouble again. Why won't the banks lend them any money to buy their own property? What do you mean, they aren't earning enough, and they have no savings for the deposit? Clearly this is all just the political right, making up stories again! Once the Marxists have destroyed the PRS, everybody will be happy, and have a house to live in, by the sugar plumb fairy god mother who looks after us poor people and it will all be sweetness and light. Oh! Look there's a pig getting ready to fly, net zero will make the nation profitable, and all those illegal immigrants will find jobs and pay taxes, to help the poor bankrupt government pay the £3T debt they caused the country.
When will people wake up to reality?

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