How Councils Are Helping Landlords
Although they have a bad reputation when it comes to private landlords, some local authorities are stepping in to help landlords, and try to work with them to solve local housing problems for everyone’s benefit.
It can’t be denied that councils and landlords need to work together – after all it’s in everyone’s best interest that landlords, local authorities and tenants all have the information they need to provide the best service and get the best experience from renting/letting a property.
Local Authority InitiativesSome councils have set up private landlord accreditation schemes which are of a huge reassurance to potential tenants who are looking for a decent landlord – and an accreditation works very much in the favour of landlords too. If you’re registered on the list, you can use your accreditation status to attract quality tenants. The accreditation system works both ways too. Some forward-thinking councils provide lists of accredited tenants, tenants who have proved themselves in the past and that most landlords would be happy to have renting their property.
Contact your local council and ask whether they subscribe to landlord and tenant accreditation schemes – as it’s not compulsory but it’s certainly becoming more popular.
Grants and Loans for LandlordsIn some cases, it’s possible to apply for grants or loans if you need to renovate your property. It’s impossible to say whether your situation and property will fit your individual council’s criteria, so the best way to find out is simply to ask. For a list of local authority contact details go to: www.gov.uk
If you’re stuck with a property that needs renovating before it can be let out, it could be worth enquiring about an Empty Property Grant. There are usually conditions attached, and you may have to make the property available to local authority tenants for an agreed period. Usually the property will have to have been vacant for at least a year and will be in need of repairs to make it habitable. You’ll need to contact your local council to find out whether they offer an Empty Property Grant, and what their conditions are.
Guaranteed Rental SchemesHot on the heels of the private sector letting agencies, some local authorities are getting in on the guaranteed rental schemes act and offering landlords a guaranteed income if they let houses to council tenants.
One council is Exeter, who have been actively recruiting landlords and home owners to its ‘Extralet’ scheme, which guarantees an income as long as the property is made available to people on its housing list. The scheme was set up in 2006 because there was a shortage of affordable housing in the city. The Extralet scheme has been picked up nationally and many other local authorities are now running similar schemes.
Help and Advice for Private LandlordsMany councils offer advice services targeted at private landlords. These advice services include advice from trading standards and consumer protection agencies about health and safety issues, and landlords’ legal obligations, as well as offering booklets and resources about finding tenants and making a success of your property letting.
Some local authorities have a dedicated housing advice team that is available for both landlords and tenants, and equipped with the latest legal and practical advice on being a good landlord. It’s definitely well worth contacting your local authority housing team if you’re thinking of becoming a private landlord for the first time, just to see what services they offer, and what free advice they can give you.