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Council bids to buy more private rented homes

west norfolk council housing plan

King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Council plans to buy 65 private rental properties through its housing company in a bid to address the region’s shortage of homes.

It wants to borrow £50 million to buy 65 properties to rent on the private market through West Norfolk Property Ltd (WNPL) as well as 73 homes for affordable housing through the non-profit social housing firm, West Norfolk Housing Company.

WNPL was set up in 2018 to acquire properties to let for private rent to residents of the borough. The authority builds the homes in conjunction with Lovell Partnerships, and the portfolio is managed by agents, Touchstone. Properties come with a three-year tenancy and competitive market rents.

Growing portfolio

The first PRS properties were leased to WNPL in November 2020, and it now has 74 in its portfolio. It plans to increase the total to 139 properties, with 46 being delivered on Florence Fields (Parkway) with a further 19 on Lynnsport.

A council report explains: “The long-term funding of WNPL to manage private rented properties allows the council to intervene in the private rented market and set a high standard for the quality of housing and management with longer term family friendly tenancies.”

Transfer freehold

A council spokesman tells LandlordZONE: “To date, these private rental properties have been leased to WNPL from the council, pending the loan facility for the funding of the council companies being in place. In the longer term, the intention is to transfer the freehold of these properties to the wholly owned company.”

A decision on the borrowing will be decided at a cabinet meeting on 15th January.

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