A former Luton mayor says he is worried families being moved out of London boroughs to Luton are going to become a financial burden on the council.
A number of families have been moved from the capital because their housing benefit cannot cover rent levels being charged.
Lewsey councillor and former mayor Tom Shaw said he had been told 50 families were to be moved to Luton by Barnet Council – something the authority has denied.
A spokesman said: “We have been approached by a number of landlords in Bedfordshire offering the council private rented accommodation, but at this stage we are not housing people outside of London unless the person is willing to relocate.”
Other London councils are understood to have moved residents out to Luton, however.
This week Brent Council said it had so far housed six families in rented accommodation in the town, and more could follow.
Its lead member for housing, Councillor Janice Long, said: “We are now in a position where households, and in particular those with large families, are being forced to move out of Brent as their benefits no longer cover their rent.
“Brent has been gearing up for these changes for nearly two years and has been proactively working closely with tenants and landlords to help renegotiate rents and provide private tenants with advice on their options with a view to minimising homelessness cases.
“But with an already overstretched budget and oversubscribed council housing waiting list, the reality is there will be cases where residents will have to move out of the borough.
“We have contracts for provision of accommodation outside the borough, and we have had initial discussions with providers in terms of securing properties outside of London.”
Luton itself has moved families out to Milton Keynes and Enfield due to a lack of suitable homes in the town.
Mr Shaw said: “We retain all responsibility for them. But when people from London are re-housed here they could well end up Luton Borough Council’s responsibility after a year. We can’t get that answer out of anyone.
“The legal obligation is a year and a day but after that they are seen as having a local connection.”
A spokesman for Brent Council said: “All of the families that have been relocated to Luton are living in property that has been leased by Brent which means that we are effectively the landlords and as such would continue to pay their rent using housing benefit.”