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Millions awarded to 'safer renting' scheme for landlords, tenants and letting agents

ipswich Private Rented Sector Pathfinder Programme

Five councils in the East of England are embarking on an unusually collaborative approach that’s set to improve the county’s PRS homes and is understood to be the first set of authorities to go ahead with such a scheme.

The new Suffolk Housing Board (SHB) brings together Babergh, East Suffolk, Ipswich, Mid Suffolk and West Suffolk Councils to deliver the Safe Suffolk Renters initiative, a ground-breaking project which hopes to improve the experience and environment for landlords and tenants.

Using £2.2m of government funding – a share of the £14 million from the Private Rented Sector Pathfinder Programme awarded by the Department of Housing, Levelling Up and Communities to nine authorities – it will consult widely with tenants, landlords and stakeholders to better understand the pressures and problems in the sector, and then work to boost standards.

Landlord invite

One of its initiatives is a new conference, Engaging for a Better Future, for private sector landlords at the University of Suffolk in Ipswich.

It is inviting landlords, representatives of member associations and industry professionals along, where the agenda will feature practical guidance and information on mortgages, financing, tax advice, property maintenance and changes to legislation.

Councillor Beccy Hopfensperger (pictured), chair of Suffolk Housing Board, says: “This is a really exciting opportunity to bring together a range of different agencies with the sole aim of improving people’s understanding of the private rented sector, whether they are a landlord or tenant.

"We are committed to bringing everyone together to improve standards.”

Similar conferences for tenants and stakeholders will follow, while SHB says the outcomes of the Safe Suffolk Renters project will be developed into a sustainable model for collaborative working in the future and will also be fed back to help shape future government policy.

Engaging for a Better Future is free for all landlords and takes place on 3rd November.