Former Leamington and Horatia House tower block residents in Portsmouth facing higher rents

CONCERNS over a lack of social housing in Portsmouth have been raised after some residents re-homed from condemned tower blocks reported significant increases in their rent.
Leamington House and Horatia House aerialsLeamington House and Horatia House aerials
Leamington House and Horatia House aerials

Following the relocation of 272 households from 'unsafe' Leamington and Horatia House in Portsmouth between 2018 and 2019, the city council has gathered feedback from those affected.

From the 20 responses received 45 per cent said they were satisfied with their new home, however 15 per cent were unsatisfied.

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And one example, referred to as Resident A, said his rent had increased from £90 to £154 per week, due to the fact it was a new build set at an affordable rate (80 per cent of market value) rather than social housing - which both towers provided.

Housing activist Councillor Cal Corkery has been campaigning for more social housing in Portsmouth for years. He said: 'I have spoken to a few residents who were in that position, it especially affected people who moved from the towers into Ivy Close in Somers Town, which happened to become available at that time.

'It just proves that we need more homes to be rented at a social level in the city.

'Clearly there are financial reasons for building affordable homes rather than social homes but there's a knock-on effect as the residents on a low income will be facing a difference of around £200 a month which is huge for them.'

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As previously reported, the council has approved £120m to be spent on 440 new homes on the site once Horatia and Leamington are de-constructed - with at least 272 used as social housing.

A council spokesman said: 'All residents were offered suitable permanent offers of accommodation and received a statutory home loss payment and support to move.

'Assessments, where appropriate, were also undertaken for the affordability of alternative housing offered and all the rent levels were within the local housing allowance rates. People were not given homes they could not afford.'

In the survey 55 per cent said they were very satisfied, and 30 per cent were satisfied with the financial support given by the council to move home.

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Resident were given a displacement sum of between £6,100 to £6,300.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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