Demolition of 23,000 London social-rented homes has led to homeless families

23,000 social-rented home were demolished in the London over the last decade, while only 12,000 were built according to analysis by London Tenants Federation

The federation calculated that 35,000 of the homes would have been available if there had been no demolitions.

The highest number of demolitions was in the Borough of Ealing, with almost 5,000 demolitions, followed by Southwark which saw almost 4,000 demolitions. 

Pat Turnbull, a housing association tenant representative from Hackney, said: “The demolition of 23,000 since then has simply escalated the problems, with increasingly high numbers of homeless families living in temporary or overcrowded homes.

“Money intended for building additional social-rented homes is often used to replace demolished homes with replacements being at ‘affordable rents’ rather than the housing type actually needed.

“We need the government to provide positive investment in both new and refurbished social-rented homes and the Mayor of London to ensure that proposals for social-rented housing demolitions are rejected unless the homes are structurally unsound.”  

The replacement of demolished social-rented homes with affordable rent homes with up to 80% market rents, instead of social-rented homes has significantly contributed to the backlog of social-rented homes.

However, affordable rents have previously been criticised as unaffordable, especially as rents continue to rise across London and England due to the lack of supply in the rental market and increase mortgage costs.

The Mayor of London’s office estimated the backlog for social-rented homes increased from 61,000 to 163,000 between 2013 and 2017, and to overcome the backlogs 50% of additional homes delivered would have to be social-rented.

The federation says it is unsurprising that a new assessment of housing needs has not been produced since 2017 as the backlog is likely to have increased significantly. 

In August, the London Mayor announced that 1,577 homes have been repurchased as part of Right to Buy-back scheme, launched in July 2021, allowing boroughs across London to purchase former council homes that were sold through the Right to Buy scheme.

Despite criticisms that Right to Buy was eroding the number of social-rented homes available, in June, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the Right to Buy scheme would be extended to 2.5 million housing association tenants. 

Featured image credit: PixaBay

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