Homeless Accommodation Property Investment and Retained Right to Buy Capital Receipts Qualifying Expenditure
Decision Maker: Interim Chief Executive
Decision status: Recommendations approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
At its meeting on 9 March 2017, CEB delegated authority to the Chief Executive, having notified in advance the Board Members for Finance, Asset Management and Public Health, and Housing, to approve any property purchases over £500,000 for the Homeless Accommodation Property Investment project.
The Heads of Housing and Property Services; and Financial Services submitted a report which sought project approval for the purchase of temporary homeless accommodation in order to utilise retained capital receipts and deliver General Fund savings.
Cllr Rowley, Board Member for Housing presented the report. He explained that there was a lack of accommodation available for temporary accommodation in the city and the Council was currently paying £525,000 p.a. in rent to private landlords. The proposal is to acquire 39 units to house families on a temporary basis which will save money by replacing private sector tenancies. The Council’s Right to Buy receipts need to be spent by March 2017otherwise they have to be returned to the government. They can be spent on this programme.
He thanked the Housing Strategy and Needs Manager for all his hard work.
The Housing Strategy and Needs Manager said that the project had come out of an efficiency saving initiative. The current low interest rates made the proposal feasible. Owning the properties will allow the Council to do repairs on the houses which will improve the quality of life for the people residing in them.
Cllr Turner asked whether the properties will be in Oxford or surrounding areas. As the Council will get more for its money, if it buys outside of the city.
The Housing Strategy and Needs Manager said they would buy as close to the city as possible. The team has starting acquisitions, as we need to spend the money in the next 3 months. There are options beyond Oxford in Didcot and Bicester, and opportunities within the city include buying back former council owned stock and properties in tower blocks.
The Housing Strategy and Needs Manager said the properties would house families, many of whom have been evicted from the private rental sector.
Cllr Price said he had heard evictions had become a growing problem and he would like to see statistics on the number of people being evicted or having to leave their privately rented tenancies because of rising rents.
The Board noted that the programme would be front loaded so there would be significant progress in the next 6 months.
The City Executive Board resolved to:
1. Note the proposal set out in this report has informed the budget setting process and that the implications are contained within the Consultation Budget which appears elsewhere on the agenda;
2. Give project approval to the proposals, to purchase accommodation, as set out in this report, and within the allocated capital budget.
Report author: Dave Scholes
Publication date: 19/12/2016
Date of decision: 15/12/2016
Decided at meeting: 15/12/2016 - City Executive Board (became Cabinet on 13 May 2019)
Effective from: 22/12/2016