As a sign of the disparate situation some councils are in with their housing, Slough Borough Council is offering a month’s rent as incentive to private landlords in a new scheme to tackle town’s housing crisis
The Council is offering private landlords the incentive to join its new social lettings scheme, which has been set up to help meet the demand for housing in the borough.
The Airports Commission estimates that between 22,900 and 70,800 new houses will be needed across fourteen boroughs if a new Heathrow runway is built. But locally home building still appears to be stagnant.
Slough Borough Council sees its priority as housing Slough residents, rather than accommodating homeless families from nearby London boroughs, and is offering these incentives to redirect properties owned by private landlords back to these priorities for the next five years. It sees this as the best way of tackling the growing demand for housing – even before the displacement that would be caused from a new runway.
Slough is anxious to develop relationships with private landlords, to find accommodation for those families in the borough who are in overcrowded or unsuitable accommodation. In particular the need suitable accommodation those families not entitled to council housing but where the council is still under an obligation to help.
At the same time the council’s strategy on housing is to keep on building more new homes as well as improving and managing its existing stock.
Under its new initiative for landlords, the council offers a one-off payment, equivalent to one month’s rent or alternatively, the landlord enters into an agreement which guarantees to pay up to an agreed amount to cover the cost of any damage caused to the property during the term of the tenancy.
Another scheme available to Slough landlords is one where they can lease their properties on a commercial tenancy to Paradigm Housing, a housing association which accepts and manages tenants sent to them from the council.
Paradigm say that the benefits to landlords of their scheme include:
- A guaranteed rent paid by Paradigm; and
- Management of properties on behalf of landlords.
Last year the ruling Labour council announced plans to build 200 new council homes with the Britwell regeneration scheme, which would be the first new council houses in the borough in 20 years.
Slough council dispute the extent of the Airports Commission’s figures but acknowledge that demand will be hard to meet and say a big part of their problem is that nearby London boroughs are rehoming families in Slough, as a result of London’s own housing crisis.
Slough’s housing supply team has written to 700 landlords to publicise the scheme and is planning on extending the offer to council leaseholders later in the year.
James Swindlehurst, council deputy leader and commissioner for neighbourhoods and renewal, has said:
“Affordable private rental properties are scarce across the country, not just in Slough.
“Good quality housing is one of the foundations of leading a happy, healthy life, and our ultimate goal is to make sure every family has that opportunity.
“By making sure the ones that are available go to Slough people, it will mean less local families in unsuitable accommodation and less pressure on the public purse.”
If you’re a landlord and you’re interested in joining the scheme or leasing your property to Paradigm, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01753 875264.
The council is planning to hold a third landlords’ forum later this year, aimed at bringing landlords together to discuss the big issues affecting them. If you would like to attend, email email@example.com.