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Newham homes among worst in UK for ‘overcrowding’

18:38 08 May 2014

Newham has the highest level of overcrowding in the UK, a new report reveals.

The Office for National Statistics found the borough had more than twice the London average, with people sharing rooms in a quarter of households.

The report considered population density and the large proportion of rented homes, suggesting high house prices could play a major role.

Roger Harding, of Shelter, a charity for the homeless, said: “Decades of failure to build the homes we need has led to soaring housing costs across the capital, and families in Newham are struggling to keep up.

“These figures are yet more proof that the government needs to get on and build the decent, affordable homes that millions of families desperately need.”

About 50 per cent of rented housing is considered overcrowded while eight out of 10 privately owned houses have a spare bedroom.

A council spokesman said overcrowding affected every local authority and families were living in unsuitable private rented accommodation that accounted for 40pc of the borough’s housing stock.

He blamed landlords for converting family houses into houses of multiple occupation which leads to overcrowding.

The spokesmen added: “We are stepping in to support people to make better lives, from supporting them to find social housing, to helping people get that first foot on the housing ladder.

“We prioritise those in work or contributing through care responsibilities or being in the armed forces. We were the first place in the country to introduce mandatory borough-wide licensing for the private rented sector.”

A new council scheme will also see at least 3,000 new homes built for the private rented sector.

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