Private rent increases putting more Mansfield families at risk of homelessness

Two people sleeping rough in Nottingham.
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

Landlords selling private homes and increasing rents are leading to a large spike in people needing urgent accommodation in Mansfield.

Some elderly residents are also contacting council teams wanting to downsize due to rising heating costs as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.

Mansfield District Council says it is doing its “utmost to support families” but is reporting a 169 per cent rise in people needing emergency housing to avoid becoming homeless.

New figures show 170 people are in the most at-need band on its housing waiting list – up from 63 this time last year.

There has also been a 16.5 per cent rise in the number of people in the second-most at-need banding, up to 506 compared with 435 a year ago.

The Labour-run authority says some of these increases are down to changes in the private rented sector putting families at risk of homelessness.

Energy bills and the cost of living crisis are also causing some people to consider where they are living and if they can afford their homes.

Support is being offered to struggling families and individuals amid concerns even more people could be added to the most at-risk housing bands.

“There are several factors around these increases,” says Councillor Marion Bradshaw (Lab), the council’s portfolio holder for housing.

“Not everybody is homeless.

“We are seeing families present to us from the private sector, mainly because of landlords selling up or increasing rents, making some properties unaffordable for tenants.

“We have also seen an increase in elderly tenants wanting to downsize due to rising heating costs.”

Papers show 106 of the 170 applicants on the authority’s most at risk housing waiting list are families.

A further 48 applicants are single people, with 15 couples and one application for shared accommodation.

In total, there are 2,541 families on the waiting list across all five housing bands, with 2,361 having children of school age.

The authority has an active waiting list of 6,125 applicants overall but just 286 properties have been advertised on the authority’s housing portal since April.

Demand remains “extremely high” and the average wait time for people in the most at-risk band is between six and nine months.

However, plans are in place to support people in urgent need if their housing arrangements do collapse.

“The council will always do its utmost to support families in this time of need, especially when demand is so high,” Cllr Bradshaw added.

“We can negotiate with landlords to try to increase the notice they will give tenants before taking the ultimate step of evicting.

“By keeping landlords informed of what is happening, the vast majority allow extra time for families to be rehoused, but if this is not possible, we offer families affected interim accommodation.

“We are always looking at reducing the waiting list and getting people into secure and lasting accommodation as quickly as possible.

“One initiative will be to build more social housing, and this is something we are doing with schemes in Bellamy and Saundby Avenue, to name but a few.”

The ongoing housing situation is due to be reviewed by the authority’s overview and scrutiny communities and services committee on December 6.

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