Landlords will be paid cash deposits by a council in a radical bid to shorten housing waiting lists.

Stafford Borough Council has given its new innovative scheme the go-ahead, using a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme and has earmarked £30,000 for the first year, with the aim of helping 30 tenants.

The authority acknowledges that its current deposit guarantee scheme to help prospective tenants on low incomes find homes isn’t attractive to landlords because it doesn’t cover rent arrears.

Landlords are also reluctant to take Universal Credit claimants because of the lack of a direct pay option for the housing benefit element and because clients can end alternative payment arrangements at any time.

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£10,000

Households in Stafford currently face an average wait of seven months for a one-bedroom property on the council’s housing list – and it can cost the authority more than £10,000 to house someone in temporary bed and breakfast accommodation during that time.

About £1,300 is needed up front to start a private tenancy in the town where the average rent is £525 per month.

A cabinet report says: “There are significant barriers for households with complex needs who cannot access social housing and have to wait in unsatisfactory accommodation whilst protracted and sometimes failed negotiations with landlords take place.

“This waiting can have an adverse effect on the client’s health and wellbeing, including mental wellbeing, and make rehousing more difficult.”

Councillor Jeremy Pert (pictured), cabinet member for community and health, says: “Sometimes the private rental sector does not work as well as it could, which adds to our costs as a council, and means a smaller number of homes are available to our residents than could have been the case.

“By making the changes proposed to the existing private sector access policy we are hoping to secure greater access to the private rented sector and lower temporary accommodation costs.”

3 COMMENTS

  1. Good idea.
    A one bed place in Stafford is £329 – £429.
    £10,000 over 7 months would certainly tempt me as long as the council will be a guarantor, promptly dealt with any issues (ASB, MH, etc) and that amount of rent continued for the duration of the tenant’s stay until they found a ‘council’ property.
    I’m no longer prepared to have to act as a support worker for tenants with problems – I’m not qualified and it’s not my job.

  2. Berlingogirl I think you are dreaming!

    If there was an oversupply of rental properties maybe this would appeal to LLs with properties they could not fill. Unfortunately that is not the case and I would rather have a tenant who is in work and able to afford to pay the rent without relying on LHA. There are too many risks associated with Social Housing Tenants to make this appealing.

  3. Dream On Councillor – living in his fantasy World with guaranteed income from the taxpayer. When you run out you simply collect more.

    Why not step back and realise that landlords in “the private rental sector (that) does not work as well as it could” do not have the luxury of guaranteed income.

    Why would a PRS landlord risk taking on households with “complex needs” – do you think providing a deposit of £1,000 is going to sort it all out?

    Here’s another radical idea for you – hand the landlord 50% of the £10,000 you spend on the average B&B stay as an incentive to take on your “complex need” tenants.

    £5,000 MIGHT encourage a few landlords to accept the drawbacks linked to so many social tenancies.

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