No need for so many on the streets, says Shrewsbury property landlord - and he has a solution

A Shrewsbury property landlord has said the problems of homelessness in the town could be solved if the Government increased the rent it gave tenants to pay for private accommodation.

Rod Garrod says he can't rent rooms out to the homeless as Government payments are too low
Rod Garrod says he can't rent rooms out to the homeless as Government payments are too low

Rod Garrod has been renting properties in the town for more than 50 years.

The landlord says he currently has "seven or eight" empty rooms but cannot rent them out, and other landlords also have empty properties in the town.

"There is no shortage of accommodation in Shrewsbury," he said.

"I've got seven or eight rooms free and a friend has a similar amount.

"The problem is that the Government will only pay £75 a week towards people's rent if they are on benefits, that's why you have so many people on the streets."

He said landlords like him cannot rent out rooms for that amount.

"We'd lose money. If you give somebody a room, with all their electric and internet included that is furnished, then we need to receive the £150 market rate otherwise we lose money," he said.

He added that by failing to pay private landlords enough, local councils end up having to pay "millions" in emergency accommodation, such as hotels.

"That costs up to £600 a week per person. Or they put them in council houses and the tenants get into debt and stop paying the rent. They are then evicted and end up on the streets," added Mr Garrod.

The issue of homelessness has recently been linked to anti-social behaviour in Shrewsbury Town Centre. The problem was even raised with the PM at the weekend by Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski, who wants more police action.

But Mr Garrod says the problem of homelessness could be sorted out if the Government was willing to spend more money on rental accommodation.

"The Government needs to increase the rent levels and pay it directly to landlords, otherwise they will not solve the problem," he said.

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