Agenda item - Evictions from Temporary Accommodation

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Agenda item

Evictions from Temporary Accommodation

Report of Executive Director Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing (copy attached).

 

Decision:

1)              That Housing & New Homes Committee note the findings of the report.

 

2)              That officers continue to monitor and update the eviction figures, with a follow up report to be produced in a year’s time including an analysis of any trends in data.

 

3)              That a Temporary Accommodation Action Group is asked to consider concerns from tenants that their involvement with the media has been a contributing factor in eviction, with any findings reported back to Housing and New Homes Committee.

 

 

 

Minutes:

16.1   The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing which looked into evictions from Temporary Accommodation and whether there is evidence to support the assertion that residents in temporary accommodation that lodge complaints about disrepair or staff conduct at their temporary accommodation are vulnerable to evictions. The report was presented by Head of Temporary Accommodation and Allocations, accompanied by the Housing Options Manager (Homelessness).  

 

16.2   Councillor Atkinson thanked officers for the report. The evidence was comprehensive and it needed to be clear that abusive behaviour to staff was unacceptable.

 

16.3   Councillor Bell concurred with Councillor Atkinson. He endorsed the report.

 

16.4   Councillor Moonan referred to the previous report and asked how the two were linked. Meanwhile she hoped some of the issues could be addressed at the Temporary Accommodation Board.

 

16.5   Councillor Gibson agreed that it was a very helpful report that went into a great deal of detail. Councillor Gibson referred to the table on page 194 of the agenda which showed an analysis of evictions. He expressed concern that the number of evictions in the last quarter had increased significantly. He recommended that the table be replicated in one year’s time in order to compare the tables and see if this trend could be stemmed. Councillor Gibson expressed concern that people were possibly lacking support at a vulnerable period of their lives.  Councillor Gibson had received answers to questions he put to officers before the Committee. Some of these questions were asking about more details on the evictions and what was clear was that over the period of the year out of 398 properties, there had been 50 evictions (12.5%) which he felt was quite high. Councillor Gibson wanted to see that figure reduced. Councillor Gibson was concerned that two photographs attached to the report were the worst possible examples and they might be introducing a certain amount of bias into people’s minds. He was also concerned that the case studies were not representative in the sense that they did not reflect the split between the cases where housing duty was discharged and housing duty was not discharged.  They tended to be the worst cases.

 

16.6   Councillor Gibson set out an amendment from the Green Group as follows:

 

         That the recommendations are amended to insert the words as shown in bold italics:

 

 

2.2 To continue to monitor and update the eviction figures, with a follow up report to be produced in a year’s time including an analysis of any trends in data

 

2.3 That the Temporary Accommodation Action Group is asked to consider concerns from tenants that their involvement with the media has been a contributing factor in eviction, with any findings reported back to Housing and New Homes Committee.

 

16.7   The amendment was seconded by Councillor Phillips.

 

16.8   The Head of Temporary Accommodation and Allocations explained that there were 900 plus placements. There had been 50 evictions from those 900 plus placements, not out of the 398 properties.  Councillor Gibson took that point but stressed that the point he was making was over a period of a year in 398 properties there were 50 evictions and the eviction rate per property over a year was 12.5%.

 

16.9   The Housing Options Manager (Homelessness) confirmed that the photos were a typical sample and not the worst examples.  

 

 

16.10  Councillor Hill confirmed that surgeries had been held for people in emergency accommodation in Windsor Court and Percival Terrace, along with ward councillors. There was one visitor to the first session and three or four attended the second surgery.  That was an opportunity for people to raise particular issues. 

 

 

16.11  The Director, Neighbourhood, Communities & Housing referred to 2.3 of the amendment.  She was keen that the Temporary Accommodation Action Group was not seen as a council group. The Director expressed concern that if the Committee asked the group to do something, it might not be what the group and Justlife wanted to do.  The council’s involvement was to be part of the group and listen. Councillor Gibson stated that the amendment was worded to ask the Board to consider. The Committee would not be demanding action.

 

16.12  Councillor Moonan asked if there was a comparator with any other local authority with regard to evictions. This was something that could go into future reports to give a benchmark. The Head of Temporary Accommodation and Allocations replied that the local authority did not have these figures. Brighton & Hove were very different in the way it provided temporary accommodation. This was not a matter in which local authorities reported on a regular basis and it was unlikely these figures would be available.

 

16.13 The Committee voted on the original recommendation which was agreed unanimously. The Committee then voted on the amendment as set out in paragraph 16.6 above. This was agreed unanimously.

16.14  RESOLVED:-

 

(1)            That the findings of the report are noted.

 

(2)            That officers continue to monitor and update the eviction figures, with a follow up report to be produced in a year’s time including an analysis of any trends in data.

 

(3)            That the Temporary Accommodation Action Group is asked to consider concerns from tenants that their involvement with the media has been a contributing factor in eviction, with any findings reported back to Housing and New Homes Committee.

 

Supporting documents:

 


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