‘Pressing problem’ in Doncaster’s private rental sector as landlords look to cash in on ‘buoyant housing market’

Doncaster’s top housing boss has said there is a ‘pressing problem’ in the private rental sector with many landlords choosing to sell properties due to booming house prices.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 2:46 pm

Dave Richmond, chief executive of St Leger Homes, said that current rates paid to people by Government in the way of benefits were ‘not keeping up’ with rising rent costs.

The issue, which has been reported on nationally, is also affecting Doncaster and despite landlords who want to carry on in the private rental sector, many are said to be increasing rates due to the buoyant market.

Mr Richmond also said that Doncaster has historically had a low level of private rental properties with a lot of ‘low quality’ homes.

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Landlords with private rental properties in Doncaster are capitalising on a boom in house prices.

He added that it was imperative that St Leger staff are working further up the chain to help people sooner before they reach a homelessness crisis.

“We’ve got a really pressing problem with private sector evictions … and there’s a real fear at the moment, with a couple of things with the private sector,” he said.

“There’s landlords coming out of the lettings game altogether and want to capitalise on a buoyant market and to sell their property but there is also an issue around landlords wanting to carry on renting but want to carry on at a much higher level of rent.

“It seems like the benefits system and the housing allowance isn’t keeping up with that rise so we need to do a little bit of research about that to understand if that’s a real and genuine issue or it’s just a few cases we’ve had recently.

“If it is a real issue, the solutions and causes of that are going to be quite difficult for us on our own to deal with and we need to be talking to the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP).

“If the market in this area is now spiking, we’ve got a real problem.”

Councillors in a recent scrutiny meeting heard that St Leger would need to work more closely with the whole homelessness partnership within Doncaster to make sure support is getting to those who need it most.

But Mr Richmond added partnership working with other agencies had dramatically improved due to the pandemic.