17:04 PM, 2nd February 2012, About 10 years ago 9
A London council has set up the first local authority full management lettings agency for rental homes in the capital.
Harrow Council has run a property finding service for tenants but is extending the service to manage homes for landlords.
Landlords can also pick up guaranteed rents – with three months paid in advance by the council.
Harrow Council explained the service is aimed at meeting high demand for social housing and the lack of available homes by sending tenants to accredited landlords with homes that meet high standards.
The council’s Help2Let scheme has already married 200 tenants looking for private rented homes with landlords.
Councillor Bob Currie, portfolio holder for housing, said: “With major pressure on housing services, the private rented sector has become more important than ever. We are working with landlords in Harrow to create more choice for our residents.
“By supporting and boosting this sector, we can also drive up standards in the rental market. We are building up a database of available, decent properties in the area.”
Other councils also run similar schemes – notably Neath Port Talbot Council’s Property Bay Wales, which is a council funded estate agency with a design and build project management team.
Another London council, Newham, which is home to the Olympic Stadium, has also given notice that they wish to purchase private rental property in the borough with a view to starting a civic buy to let business.
Several universities are also involved in letting properties by accredited landlords to students – two new schemes have recently opened for Liverpool John Moores University and Sussex University, Brighton.
Other schemes are also running in Cardiff University; de Montfort University, Leicester; and the University of Hertford, Hatfield.
Many of the student landlord schemes are run in conjunction with student unions that handle complaints about housing.
Universities in Oxford are also considering a similar move.
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