A housing campaigner has revealed that “highly organised” rogue landlords are exploiting councils desperate to provide accommodation for homeless people. The so-called “lockdown” model is rife in at least 12 London boroughs and there are fears that it is spreading like wildfire across the rest of the UK.
How Does the Lockdown Model Work?
The government will pay a maximum of £100 per person, per week for single people sharing a house. However, if a three-bed house is converted into six bedsits, each person is eligible for £181 per week in housing benefit payments. This equates to £56k per year for one three-bed family home, a massive increase on the £15,600 paid out for three people sharing the property.
Rogue landlords have caught on fast. Many former family homes are being illegally converted into tiny studio bedsits barely large enough for a bed, sink and basic cooking facilities. It is a highly lucrative lettings model that is being promoted as a great investment opportunity for career landlords.
Councils Not Running Checks on Lockdown Properties
Rogue landlords convert properties signed off by their own building control firms and electricians and then offer to take in homeless individuals. Councils usually take up these offers because it is usually very difficult to place such people. Because of the desperate need for these units, checks are rare, so when housing inspectors do finally make an inspection, they often find inadequate fire protection, plumbing, and electrics.
Unfortunately, desperate people often have no choice in where they live, a fact that rogue landlords and letting companies are keen to exploit.