The cost of living in the UK is a significant cause of homelessness. Still, many councils in the UK are going into debt or are run by councillors who allegedly use the tax money meant to help the public, to benefit privately owned investment housing. 

A recent post on a Brighton community Facebook group shared an anecdote of a local girl who attempted suicide three weeks before Christmas and was in the hospital for two weeks after. Brighton and Hove City Council was unable to help her, claiming that there was no available emergency accommodation in Brighton. The girl was reportedly sleeping in a shop’s doorway. 

Another striking story was shared in November about an elderly person homeless in Brighton who was staying in a backpacker hostel. A concerned relative reported that he was autistic, had stage 3 cancer, and had numerous physical and mental health issues, but the council refused him help. The prices are upsetting, and councils don’t own these plots. Most are private and unaffordable to many, whether work, students or career-minded individuals.

The Badger was informed of a scam, again from reports on social media, in April 2023, that a woman, via an advert on Spareroom, allegedly stole deposits; however, after reports from many people that had deposits stolen by her, the advertising platform still allows the con to continue. 

The customer services of online advertising platforms are often unhelpful in cases of reported scammers, some of whom intentionally take deposits and run, or wrongfully advertise rooms as clean, cover up mould spots or rising damp, and then blame the new resident if they raise the issue. 

Many landlords renting out rooms are council house tenants or own their property in  part with the council. Only a room can be let out under secure tenancy in these cases, but not the entire property. If a problem in these properties needs repair, the landlord is therefore entitled to contact the council for repairs, which can take a long time. However, some of these lodger landlords don’t even call and try to bodge the repair.

In my personal experience in Sussex, it is absolute hell to find a secure place. I’ve lived in seven places in 15 years, of which I was evicted from five. The landlords wanted people receiving benefits out, even though everyone treated the properties just as a working person would. It’s a shame that because of the high demand for rentals, some awful people are taking advantage of people in vulnerable situations, causing significant issues all over the UK. Councils seem to have little power or initiative to take action against these problems.

Awful people are taking advantage of people in vulnerable situations

Many letting agencies and estate agents are now acting as middle men for room rentals. It’s a lot safer for the renter, and they consider benefits for income. Still, this doesn’t prevent the issue of greedy landlords, who sometimes ask for four times the deposit to move in, labelling you as untrustworthy or risky purely on income. Meanwhile, homeless folks on the streets of Brighton and Hove have reported incidents of being kicked, punched, and spat at by members of the public who don’t understand the reality of sleeping on the streets. Some of these homeless folks are students, former students or students who have had to leave university early as they can’t afford to rent.  

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