A council in Northamptonshire is the latest to offer private landlords a raft of generous incentives to accept or retain vulnerable tenants in a scheme labelled a ‘sticking plaster’ by critics.
Kettering Council’s scheme, like dozens of others established in recent months by local authorities across the UK, is its attempt to prepare for an expected increase in homelessness after August 23rd when the current eviction ban ends.
The both new and existing measures are designed to help tenants already in private rented accommodation to stay in their properties if they face financial difficulties, or find new properties if they are evicted.
“Over the past few years a wave of homelessness has hit Kettering, largely driven by families being evicted by private landlords and then going to the council for assistance,” says Labour councillor Mick Scrimshaw.
“We should be using the private rented sector, but only because the social sector isn’t currently able to provide. It’s a sticking plaster solution, although I will accept an unfortunately necessary one, but it is not the permanent answer.”
Called Kettering Lettings Plus and backed with funding of £130,000, the new cash is in addition to an existing £23,000 fund used to pay landlords up to £1,000 per property to bring an address to the prescribed standard should they accept at-risk tenants.
Landlords who sign up to the scheme will also be offered a dedicated liaison officer, have their tenants’ first month’s rent and deposit paid to them direct, an inventory completed for them by council staff, and be paid up to £500 to remedy damage or other problems caused by tenants.
Kettering Council is also to offer landlords additional financial help at times of high demand for private rented property or if a landlord has a particularly ideal property available – which the council says is usually two and three bedroom houses.