The “tension” among people losing their private rented accommodation has been described as “tangible” as homeless applications rise in Renfrewshire.

Concerns have been raised about those who are facing homelessness during the cost-of-living crisis because landlords are deciding to sell properties.

The worries were expressed as figures, presented at Tuesday’s communities and housing policy board, showed a 12 per cent increase in homeless applications between the financial years 2021/22 and 2022/23.

“There are signs that there is likely to be a further increase this year,” a report said, with more than 75 per cent of applications coming from single-person households.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Labour group leader and representative for Johnstone South and Elderslie, said: “I’ve been speaking to Tom [Irvine, homeless and housing support services manager] recently about a lot of people who are losing their homes because private landlords are deciding to sell up.

“I’m not going to get into the reasons why that’s happening because they’re quite complicated, those particular issues.

“The bottom line is people who took up the opportunity to move into private let accommodation are now finding themselves virtually homeless – well, they are going to be homeless some of them.

“I’m certainly getting a lot more in my casework of that sort of situation.

“Is there a huge rise in numbers or is it a large rise or is it comparable with everywhere else in Scotland?

“It’s certainly something I’m detecting and hearing more and more of.”

Mr Irvine responded: “It certainly feels as if it’s ramping up, as it is across a lot of headings under homelessness.

“Sometimes it’s hard to know what is the actual cause of someone’s homelessness.

“They may have been in the private rented sector but found a stopgap and they’ve left it and then present as homeless, but ultimately they were homeless due to the private rented accommodation no longer being available.

“I think there’s a desperate need for some really good academic study behind what’s happening with homelessness.

“While the cost-of-living crisis is having an impact, there’s a covid hangover as well but there’s something happening nationally, that it would be really good to see some proper academic analysis of the figures.

“To answer your question, the numbers are not significant in among 900 homeless applications but it is increasing and it certainly feels worse.

“The tension and anxiety that’s obvious within those that are losing their accommodation in the private rented sector is quite tangible.”

The report to the board said pressure on the demand for social rented housing and temporary accommodation was “significant and growing”.

However, it added there have been some “positive and effective measures” in tackling homelessness in the local authority.

The deployment of resettlement officers and joint working between homeless services and housing support saw the proportion of homeless applicants who sustain a council tenancy for at least 12 months increase from 80 per cent in 2019/20 to 92 per cent in 2022/23.

Additionally, the number of those who experience repeat homelessness – presenting as homeless more than once in 12 months – reduced from just under 10 per cent in 2019/20 to under 5 per cent in 2022/23.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, an SNP representative for Renfrew North and Braehead, said: “[I’m] really pleased to see that despite a 12 per cent increase in homeless applications, over a period of three years we’ve managed to half the amount of people who are repeatedly presenting as homeless.

“I think that’s incredible work from the officers that should be recognised because obviously we don’t want anyone to be homeless, so the more we can do, the better.”