Demand outstrips supply in Leeds as 799 people bid for a single council house

LeedsCity Council admitted the cityhas a greater demand for social housing than it can supply
LeedsCity Council admitted the cityhas a greater demand for social housing than it can supply

Leeds City Council admitted the need for social housing in the city outstrips supply, as data released this month reveals almost 800 people were chasing a single council property in Leeds.

Figures on demand for houses posted onto the website Datamill North show multiple occasions in which hundreds of people going up against each other for the same house.

It comes as one housing charity has called on local councils across the country to “end the crisis” of the housing shortage.

Leeds City Council runs what it calls a “choice-based lettings scheme”. This means anyone who signs up for a house is encouraged to “bid” against others for available properties.

But the statistics show many properties in the city are subject to hundreds of bids.

One house in Roundhay received 799 separate bids before it was awarded to a tenant back in March this year.

A total of 22 properties received more than 500 bids, while there were 6,938 instances in which a house received more than 100 bids over the past five years.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “Like other social housing landlords, Leeds City Council has greater demand for its homes than we have supply.

“Our homes are allocated in accordance with legislation and government guidance.

“The council are committed to supporting people with a housing need and preventing homelessness by offering advice and assistance on staying put with support, for example, by adapting homes. We also promote mutual exchange options where tenants can ‘swap’ homes with each other.

“Each year we let around 4,000 homes and up to 1,000 are nominated to housing associations.

“We are committed to increasing the number of affordable homes to rent in Leeds. We have an ambition to add 1,000 new council homes by 2020 and we have delivered 673 new homes through our council house growth and buy back programme in the last five years.

“By working with private home owners, we’ve also seen more than 3,500 empty homes in the private sector return to use in recent years. This also plays an important role in the housing market, either for sale or rent.”

Greg Beales from housing charity Shelter believes the problem is not just confined to Leeds.

He said: “Successive governments have failed to build the genuinely affordable social homes this country needs, which means demand now far outstrips supply. Our analysis shows there are more than a million households in need of a social home right now, and yet they are stuck on long waiting lists, often for years on end.

“This problem is nationwide, and we need the Government to commit to a bold new plan for social housing, building many more genuinely affordable homes where they are needed most, and making it easier for local councils to meet demand to end this crisis once and for all.”