Bromley Council will potentially own and manage their own housing stock for the first time since 1992, as the authority struggles to keep up with housing demand in Greater London’s largest borough.

Council leader Colin Smith will consider re-opening the authority’s Housing Revenue Account – meaning the council can act as a landlord again and provide its own housing – at a meeting next month.

According to a report to be considered by a scrutiny board on Wednesday,  the current supply of social and affordable housing in the borough “cannot keep pace with the level of housing need”.

The authority is also looking at the move as a way to reduce the costs of providing hotel rooms for households requiring emergency accommodation, which it currently spends hundreds of thousands of pounds a year on.

“The risk of insufficient housing and associated cost of temporary accommodation provision is one of the council’s major risks,” the report states.

The report adds that Bromley has about 3,000 households on the housing waiting list, with roughly 1,700 currently in temporary accommodation.

The council spends roughly £6,300 per household per annum on each household placed into temporary nightly accommodation.

Bromley is one of a dwindling number of London boroughs which don’t own and manage their own housing stock; as of 2018 they were just one of  four London authorities continuing to do so, with the others being south-east neighbours Bexley, Merton, and Richmond.

Like many authorities, Bromley transferred its housing stock to a housing association and closed its Housing Revenue Account in 1992.

At the time, councils utilised the move in a bid to attract more investment into affordable housing. Changes in legislation since have seen local authorities move back to operating Housing Revenue Accounts as rules relaxed around self-financing and investing in council housing.

Bromley had transferred all their stock to the Clarion Housing Group, which remains the largest housing association in the borough.

Other major housing associations which offer social housing in the borough include Riverside, Hyde Housing Association Limited, A2Dominion Housing and Amicus Horizon.

Members of Bromley’s executive, resources and contracts policy development and scrutiny committee will analyse the proposal at a meeting on Wednesday, with their recommendation to be forwarded to Cllr Smith ahead of his decision in July.

Cllr Smith’s decision will then be forwarded on for consideration by the full council.