Posts with tag: homeless

Letting agent slammed for taking housing benefit from charity

Published On: November 9, 2015 at 3:07 pm


Categories: Finance News

Tags: ,,,

A letting agent has been slammed after taking a whopping £5.5m in housing benefit from a charity housing homeless people. Campaigners have described the act as a, ‘worrying arrangement.’

Investing Solutions, operational across seven London boroughs, received the money over a two-year period from the Fresh Start Housing, which pledges to find properties for single, homeless men.


According to a BBC investigation, the company, based in York Road, Battersea, has earned an £11,568 annual profit from one single property. The company nor the charity have broken the law with their actions, but understandably, campaigners have described the arrangement as ‘exploitation.’

The investigation found evidence of some Investing Solutions properties were substandard, with issues such as rat infestation and damp in many homes.

Candida Jones, Labour councillor at Wandsworth Council, commented that, ‘it is shocking that so much public money can be paid to house some of our most vulnerable people in filthy and dangerous conditions.’ She feels that, ‘in a properly regulated housing market exploitation of this kind could not have happened.’[1]

‘I can’t understand why alarm bells were not ringing at Wandsworth Council. They are flat-footed when it comes to investigating local landlords.’[1]

Letting agent slammed for taking housing benefit from charity

Letting agent slammed for taking housing benefit from charity


As spokeswoman for housing charity Crisis said that longer-term tenancies and an obligatory register for landlords would assist in protecting tenants. She noted that, ‘too often, people who are at risk of homelessness are in a terrible situation.’[1]

‘It is evident the people at the lower end of the market are so vulnerable. We know that private companies are exploiting people-it is worrying. In a market where demand has grown so much, it is unsurprising that this sort of thing is happening.’[1]

However, company director Samir Patel, denied that there was a link between Investing Solutions and charity Fresh Start Housing. He would neither confirm or deny that £5.5m was given to his company during the period, but noted that figure was possibly accurate.

Mr Patel said,’ we lease properties from landlords. We house homeless people in need. We do not charge them any fees. These clients are in desperate need of housing. I could rent to working people and get more money but we think of this as a win-win situation because the homeless are getting homes.’[1]

‘If the council could house them there would not be a demand for our homes,’ he added.[1]




Third of homeless in capital moved out of boroughs

Published On: September 8, 2015 at 4:16 pm


Categories: Landlord News

Tags: ,,

Nearly one third of homeless families in temporary accommodation in London have been switched outside of their boroughs, according to a new report.

A Freedom of Information request has indicated that 47,137 households were being homed temporarily by 32 local authorities from March to August 2015. Figures show that 15,795 of these households were actually placed outside of the boroughs responsible for housing them.


London Councils have acknowledged that authorities are in the middle of a housing crisis. Kensington and Chelsea and Waltham Forest councils both said that they had housed in excess of two thirds of temporary households outside of their borders.

Hammersmith and Fulham housed homeless people across 28 other London boroughs, with Wandsworth doing the same in 26 regions.

Naomi Emmanuel and her two-year-old daughter Kira are amongst the 30,000 households with children currently living in temporary accommodation in the capital. Miss Emmanuel ended up homeless following the death of her mother.

Explaining her ordeal, she said that she has been moved five times over two years between three separate London boroughs, something that, understandably, proved unsettling for her child.

‘I had to take her out of nursery with a day’s warning. I had to quit a job with a day’s warning,’ said Emmanuel. ‘If I could afford private renting I would definitely have done that instead of being placed wherever the council feels like placing us.’[1]

‘I like being in control of my own life which is why I worked and studied to be in control of my future,’ she continued, before saying that it is, ‘unnerving, having to wait for a letter to find out where we’re going to be moved.’[1]


The Freedom of Information results show that 25 out of 31 councils moved homeless households to other parts of the South East. Eight councils moved people into temporary accommodation in the Midlands and even to the north of England.

Kate Webb, from housing charity Shelter, said that despite families being able to request a review of their case, they have no choice of where they could eventually end up. ‘If you are sent to Birmingham and you refuse to go, the council can say you have intentionally made yourself homeless,’ she explained.

Mr Melaku Ader was moved to Liverpool after finding himself without accommodation following the conclusion of his contract working on the development of the Olympic Stadium. He is now living in a homeless hostel in the capital. ‘I had many friends in London. When I went to Liverpool it was too hard for me to find friends and enjoy life. It was just me,’ he said.[1]

Third of homeless in capital moved out of boroughs

Third of homeless in capital moved out of boroughs

Waiting game

Newham and Brent had the highest number of households living in temporary accommodation. Brent was also the borough with the highest number of homeless households with children. Figures from the Freedom of Information Request showed that the longest time a household spent in temporary accommodation was 22 years in Tower Hamlets.

John Biggs, the council’s mayor, said that this period was, ‘shockingly unusual,’ with the wait for permanent accommodation normally around 7 years.

‘When we need to place homeless families we need to go somewhere that is affordable and very often these days that’s not in your own borough,’ Biggs commented. ‘It’s a continuing nightmare finding temporary accommodation for people. We need to work hard to get people into permanent housing.’[1]


Merton and Westminster council have yet to respond to the Freedom of Information Requests but of the 32 that responded, 29 councils said that they had spent more than £358m in total on the provision of temporary accommodation from 2012 to 2015.

Leading the way was Enfield, spending in excess of £81m from 2012 to 2015. The Department for Communities and Local Government said it was the council’s responsibility the, ‘house families in settled accommodation as quickly as possible.’ In addition, it said it had already given them fresh tools to supply quality accommodation for families in the private sector.

A spokesperson for London Councils commented that local authorities in the capital were doing their upmost to, ‘give people a roof over their heads in the midst of a housing crisis.’[1]