Shropshire Council

04/10/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/10/2024 08:39

Appeal to private landlords to offer tenancy to those in housing need

10/04/2024 - Permalink

Appeal to private landlords to offer tenancy to those in housing need

Related topics: Housing / Partner organisations

Shropshire Council is looking to work with more private landlords to help reduce homelessness across the county.

Over the past few years the council has seen an increase in households who have approached us for housing assistance, and are appealing for private landlords to make contact if they think they could offer a tenancy to those in need.

There are several reasons for the increase in numbers, particularly over the last couple of years. With flooding, the cost-of-living crisis and, more recently, Ukrainian host placements ending, the demand for suitable alternative accommodation is higher than ever. Families who have no other choice could be placed in temporary accommodation, which can be very unsettling for them and very costly to the council.

The consequences of not providing suitable accommodation for homeless single people would mean individuals remaining in wholly unsuitable provision such as B&B type accommodation. This limits a person's opportunity and ability to improve their situation and move on.​

In Shropshire the number of homeless people in B&B can fluctuate. The council has around 100 people in B&B at a cost of £61.25 per night, so 100 individuals would cost the council approximately £190,000 per month, or £2.3 million per annum.​

In light of the unprecedented financial challenges the council is facing, maintaining people in this type of accommodation, is no longer financially sustainable and, most importantly, does not achieve best outcomes for the individual. ​

The council is keen to avoid the need to use temporary accommodation as much as possible, and are interested in discussing options for more settled accommodation with private sector landlords.

Landlords will be offered cash incentives and extensive support for them and their tenants, in exchange for letting to residents who are at risk of homelessness or who are ready to move on from homelessness services and live independently.

Support includes:-

  • financial help to pay towards deposits and rent in advance, which is paid to landlords directly
  • tenants support and advice to help ensure that tenancies are sustainable
  • providing specialist advice on tenancy matters and changes in the law
  • help to resolve disputes if they arise
  • providing a named point of contact from the start.

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council's Cabinet member for housing and assets, said:-

"Facing homelessness is a worrying experience for anyone, so we're appealing to private sector landlords so we can continue to offer vital housing support to those most vulnerable.

"We can offer support for landlords to help house households who are homeless or threatened with homelessness. Currently, all types of accommodation are needed.

"You could be an experienced landlord with a portfolio of properties and just looking for tenants, in which case, we can offer a tenant matching service where we will interview and assess all tenants before they approach you. Or you may be a first-time landlord, and benefit from extra support our team can give with setting up the tenancy and handling all the paperwork.

"If you are unsure if your property will be suitable, please contact us to discuss; and if you are a landlord who uses a letting agent and would like to help, please let us know and our team can speak to the agent directly.

"Homelessness can affect anyone. We work with people who have been in the military, worked in trades and many other occupations, have been evicted from their home through no fault of their own, or in some cases are fleeing from domestic abuse. While not every person we engage with accepts our support, the vast majority do, and we continue to work with a wide range of partners to help prevent people becoming homeless, and to support those who do to find their way back into accommodation and work.​

"I'd encourage anyone who has a suitable and affordable vacant property who would be interested, to get in touch and speak to the team."

A Shropshire landlord who has been part of the scheme added:

"I initially contacted the council to see if they would lease my flats but, as this wasn't an option, I decided to work with them to help me to find tenants. The team quickly put people forward for me to consider, supported me by organising viewings, drew up tenancy agreements, and made sure tenants received the correct documents at the start of the tenancy.

"They have supported the tenants to settle in, helped deal with practical things such as setting up utilities, and continue to visit them and myself on a regular basis just to check all is going well. It has been nice to meet all of the team, I trust I can contact them anytime, and am confident they will support me should any issues arise.

"If you are a landlord with accommodation and would like to help people in need, I would recommend contacting them."

Two residents, with the help of the council's rough sleeper team, now have tenancies with the landlord. Expressing their gratitude, they said:-

"Without the support from Shropshire Council's rough sleeper team, I would have remained on the street with no future. Then when the team came along, I saw the property and moved in within a week. It was tough at first setting up everything like my gas and electric, but the team helped me to speak with the landlord to sort it.

"Now I am now starting a new full-time job, in my own property and have a busy life, playing darts, going to the gym and focusing on saving up to make my house a home."

and

"When I first worked with the team, I was unable to afford to live on my own. With the support from the council's rough sleeper team, I was able to go into a property, with my friend. I have had some stresses along the way, but the team have been on hand to help me and support me with the processes of universal credit and finding out what support is available.

"I am starting my new job next week on a full-time contract and have redecorated the place to how I want it."

If you are a private landlord or letting agent and think you can help, please email [email protected] with your details and our landlords liaison officer will be in touch.

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