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Newham Council plans to buy homes off landlords

Newham Council has launched a radical scheme that will see it buy properties from private landlords in order to stop tenants from being evicted and made homeless.

An initial £20million has been allocated for the scheme, which is designed to prevent tenants from becoming a drain on homelessness services.

With this cash the council plans to buy 44 properties at £450,000 each, as well as undertake refurbishing works.

Cllr Shaban Mohammed, Cabinet Member for Housing Management and Modernisation, said: “We’re doing everything we can to maximise the supply of housing in Newham, including purchasing properties and building new ones, as we try to provide vulnerable residents with a secure home and reduce the number of people living in costly nightly-paid accommodation.

“The scale of the challenge is immense and we cannot face it alone.”

Newham has the highest number of households in temporary accommodation in the country (5,878). Of this total 3,193 were placed in expensive nightly booked properties – a reality that has blown a £2 million black hole in its homelessness budget.

Landlords in the region are currently giving notice on 350 homes being used as short-term accommodation.

Lewisham Council in London has also committed to buying 300 one, two and three-bed homes worth up to £600,000.