Enfield Council to decide on creating property company

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Members will decide whether to set up a company to buy and potentially build properties as part of an innovative package of measures designed to ease the pressure on housing in the borough and help to reduce the £3.328 million budget pressure the council is facing for temporary accommodation next year.

The project would see the Company buying local houses to provide homes for homeless households. This approach means the Council can work with the families to tackle the issues that have led to their homelessness in the first place. The goal is to then work with the families to find a more permanent and long term home.If agreed the plan would enable the Council to secure local properties for local people at a time when the amount of council owned housing in London is falling.

The new company, if agreement is reached, would be wholly owned by the council and be exempt from right to buy obligations – meaning that the properties would be owned by the council until the authority chose to sell them.

Cllr Ahmet Oykener, said:

“There is a shortage of cost effective, value for money temporary accommodation in Enfield and because of this rents are increasing, placing major pressure on our budgets and we expect more people than ever before to need temporary accommodation in years to come.

“This is not a sustainable position and we need to do something innovative and inventive to ease housing pressures in this borough. If agreed on Wednesday, this plan would allow Enfield Council to set up a local authority company to own housing stock that can be offered to residents in desperate need of housing while we find them an appropriate long term place to live.

”The fundamental point behind this plan is that councils across the UK are seeing their budgets drop every year, we need to find ways of making up the shortfall and this is just one of a range of innovative and fascinating projects we are pursuing in order to raise revenue and bring money into our borough, while simultaneous improving the quality of life of our residents.”

The new company would initially focus on buying existing properties but could, in the future, fund the building of new developments which offer good value for money to the Council tax payer. The plans, if approved on Wednesday will form part of a wider strategy to tackle financial pressures associated with temporary accommodation costs by securing local properties for local people at sub-market rents.

In December 2013 there were 2,188 households in temporary accommodation in Enfield, the 7th highest figure in London. The number of households in temporary accommodation is expected to increase in coming years.