Rother Council welcomes new homeless housing scheme

AN idea to encourage more private landlords to come forward and accept tenants on the homeless list has been welcomed by Rother’s Cabinet committee.

Head of service Anne Fennessy presented a proposal to add charges for a range of additional support services for landlords per tenant for up to five years at the meeting on Monday.

The Cabinet heard that there are roughly 15 homeless families living in bed and breakfast accommodation in the district at any one given time.

This costs roughly £36 per person per night, which reduces to £4.52 per person per night under the council’s current Landlord Link Scheme.

The charging structure falls into four parts, with the range of services provided by the council becoming more detailed as the charges become higher.

The bronze service would be free of charge and would cover the basics such as carrying out full financial assessments, assessing the property and setting up direct debit payments.

The silver service would cost a landlord £150 and for this the council would also investigate the client’s past tenancy conduct, provide cover for tenant and pet damages for the first 12 months up to one month’s worth of rent in value and three tenant support visits.

The gold service would cost £250 and would increase the tenant and pet cover duration to five years, offer five tenancy visits over 12 months and continued landlord support for up to five years in addition to the silver service.

The platinum service would cost £350 and, as well as benefits provided by the other services, would include an inspection at the client’s previous accommodation where practically possible, cover the cost of uninsured tenant damages up to the value of six weeks’ rent and six weeks’ arrears for five years and entitle the landlord to reduced property management fees of up to four per cent from participating letting agents.

Cllr Sue Prochak said she felt landlords felt threatened by this sort of tenant, and that the increased services would give them confidence.

Cllr Maurice Watson said: “I think this is absolutely excellent.”

Cabinet approved the charges and members were told the scheme would be under constant review over the first 12 months.

Ms Fennessy said landlords she had spoken to had indicated that they would plump for the platinum service.

She said: “We need private sector landlords more than they need us.”