Borough eyes creation of new property company

By Jim Dunton - Wed 12 February 2014, 5:30 pm

Enfield Council is looking into the creation of a dedicated company that would buy - and potentially build - homes as a way to ease local emergency-housing problems.

It said the move would be part of a drive to address a £3.328 million squeeze on its temporary-accommodation budget for 2014-15, and would see the purchase of local houses to give shelter to homeless families.

According to Enfield, the company status would make the properties exempt from right-to-buy obligations, meaning that they would be owned by the borough until it chose to sell them. 

Councillor Ahmet Oykener, the authority’s housing lead, said the new company would give the council leeway to help homeless families sort out problems and find longer-term solutions.

“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,” he said.

“This is not a sustainable position and we need to do something innovative and inventive to ease housing pressures in this borough.

“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."

Enfield said the new company would initially focus on buying existing properties but could, in the future, fund the building of new developments which offered good value for money to the Council Tax payer.

It added that as of December last year the borough had 2,188 households in temporary accommodation.