Shocking reality of Brent housing crisis shown in new data

Housing crisis set to deepen in Brent

Housing crisis set to deepen in Brent - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Families in overcrowded households in Brent cannot upsize unless they are lacking more than two bedrooms, latest data has shown. 

The number of overcrowded homes in London increased from 8 per cent to 15pc from before the pandemic to December 2020, according to the English Housing Survey and snapshot surveys. In May 2021, this figure returned to 12pc.

Homes are deemed overcrowded if the space and room standard requirements are not met. 

According to housing charity Shelter’s website, this means two people can share one room, three people two rooms and five people three rooms.

During an informal housing committee meeting by the Greater London Housing Authority on Tuesday, Hakeen Osinaike, director of housing at Brent Council said: “[Now] 377 households are overcrowded by two or more bedrooms and 62 of these are council tenants.”

The waiting list for a three- or four-bedroom council house in Brent is 17 years, as there is not enough social housing in the borough to meet present demand.

Mr Oskinaike added: “We had to make the people who are lacking two or more bedrooms a priority over the people who are lacking just one bedroom.

“The people who are lacking just one bedroom cannot even bid on our system. We recognise that they have a housing need but allowing them to bid would give them false hope.”

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Overcrowding may be even more pervasive. Mr Osinaike said: “Our measure is mainly about the number of families on the housing register, we’re really blind as to what’s happening in the private renting sector.”

Overcrowding has a major impact on residents, damaging their mental and physical health, as well as their family relationships.

Shelter’s head of policy, Charles Trew emphasised the need for more family-sized homes to ease the pressure on councils and give large households the space they need to live.

He said: “There are 1.1 million households on the social housing waiting list in England, and that isn’t probably a true reflection of the number, it’s probably far larger. 

“This is a very big housing emergency. This is a very big challenge that we need to be addressing on a proper scale. The reality is that we have to get building.”