A slump in the number of private landlords in London willing to take homeless people on benefits must be addressed, town halls have warned.
Umbrella organisation London Councils says that the number of private landlords who will take such tenants has fallen 20% in the last year.
As a result, councils are having to accommodate homeless people in temporary bed and breakfasts.
Latest figures show that London’s councils are having to accommodate nearly 900 families with children in this way, for more than the six-week period set out in Government guidance.
London Councils says that private landlords do not need to rent to homeless people on benefits of rising rental demand from tenants who are in work. Landlords are also worried about changes in the benefit system.
Landlords’ reluctance means that councils are in a very weak position when attempting to negotiate rents down.
London Councils said it has had discussions with the Department for Communities and Local Government about action to bring private sector landlords back into the social housing market.
Ideas include tax relief for landlords.â?¨â?¨London Councils executive member for housing, Lewisham Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, said: “We need a concerted effort by central government departments and councils to take action to ensure a supply of good-quality, affordable homes in the private rented sector.”