Council plan to bring private rental homes back into use
Council bosses are moving into the property sector, with a new scheme to lease privately-owned properties and offer them for affordable rent.
Sunderland City Council is to begin a new leasing arrangement that will allow it to take on vacant properties that are substandard or where the landlord has not been able to find a suitable resident, return them to a good standard and offer them to residents on the council’s housing register.
The scheme, which the authority says will help bring empty properties back into use and build a larger stock of good standard homes, focuses on properties owned by landlords who either do not have the capital to bring the properties to standard, or lack the skills or ability to manage their properties in a legally compliant and customer focussed way.
There are often significant delays in letting the property in such cases, so homes fall into disrepair and begin to negatively affect on local communities.
Coun Kevin Johnston, dynamic city portfolio holder at Sunderland City Council, said: “Our commitment is to create stronger communities and a city where everyone is able to lead a healthy, comfortable life.
"Part of that commitment is to drive up the standard of accommodation across the city, so that every resident – whatever their income – can enjoy a good quality home at an affordable rent that enables them to lead a comfortable life, with security and stability.
“By all means possible, we will ensure we deliver on these promises, and this latest scheme we’re moving ahead with will help us realise that aim, taking properties that have fallen empty and bringing them to a good standard that will enable residents to move in and secure a home that enables them to set down roots and realise their potential.”
The council will introduce a Private Sector Housing Lease Model and the a Lease and Repair Model to carry out the scheme.
The first will be used where properties are in a good condition and meet minimum rental standards, while the second will see the council’s Building Services Team carry out a range of improvements, with costs to be paid back by the landlord during the course of the lease.
In both instances, the properties will be allocated to tenants from the council’s housing register and managed as part of the council’s housing service.
Coun Johnston added: “This is a win-win scheme that will drive up housing standards, helping us create more stable, settled communities where properties are well looked after, allows us to invest in future skills, creating exciting employment opportunities for local people.
“We’re delighted to be moving forward with this plan.”
The scheme is part of a wider council Housing Delivery and Investment Plan to enable local people to access homes that they need and enable them to live as independently as possible.
The council has committed to bring more than 360 empty properties into use as family homes over the next five years; deliver 117 new build bungalows; and through new build, conversion and refurbishment, create 95 new homes as supported accommodation.
To find out more about the schemes, call 0800 234 6084 or email [email protected]