Croydon’s housing crisis – Steve’s latest Croydon Advertiser column
Croydon is facing a housing crisis. Every year, thousands of people in Croydon North tell me how desperate they are because their home is overcrowded, damp, mouldy, or unheated. Most of these people are living in private rented accommodation, and some of them face eviction if they dare complain to their landlords about sub-standard conditions.
The problem stems from a shortage of good quality, affordable housing. Slum landlords know their tenants have little choice but to put up with what’s on offer because they can’t find anything better at a price they can afford. That’s why many councils, including Croydon, want to build more council housing.
But the Government is doing everything it can to make things difficult. They are forcing councils to sell off bigger properties that become vacant, and making councils sell many newly built council homes as soon as they are ready for someone to live in. Housing associations, too, have been pressured to sell off homes on the cheap to a lucky few while the waiting list for housing grows ever longer.
One in three council homes sold off ends up in the hands of private landlords. That means exactly the same property gets rented out for up to three or four times higher rent than before. That hits tenants in the pocket, and it hits every taxpayer as the housing benefit bill soars. We desperately need more good quality affordable housing. Yet our Government is doing everything it can to stop that happening.
This was published in the Croydon Advertiser on 7th November 2015. You can see it by clicking here