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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucestershire councils seek local landlords with property for let

With the coronavirus crisis leaving more people than ever living in temporary accommodation, two district councils are looking to team up with local landlords to help those in need.

In the Forest of Dean there are currently 21 households living in temporary accommodation, and in the Cotswolds 39 (as of May 26).

And both the Forest of Dean District Council (FODDC) and Cotswold District Council (CDC) are calling for anyone with a property available for private letting to get in touch.

Whether a property is available immediately or in the coming year, whether it is currently listed with an estate agent or they are an independent landlord, the FODDC and CDC wants to hear from them.

Due to the pandemic, the private lettings and sales market has stalled, and although the government has eased restrictions and estate agents are beginning to open, this crisis has left many landlords with empty accommodation and without an income.

Many holiday lets have also seen losses due to COVID-19 and although local housing authority rates cannot match their usual incomes they may find it useful to gain a steady income without the advertising and turnaround costs - at least in the short to midterm.

Cllr Di Martin

With many people being furloughed, or experiencing job losses, many have lost not just their jobs but their home too. So by working with either of the two councils, landlords can help themselves and those in need.

By renting through either the FODDC or CDC, landlords can enjoy a range of benefits including no agency fees, a free property assessment and an ongoing comprehensive package of support for both landlords and tenants.

Both councils can also support tenants with rent in advance, and a deposit.

Some landlords may have concerns about whether tenants who are entitled to some form of housing benefit can manage their monthly payments. If so, they may be able to organise an Alternative Payment Arrangement so rent payments will be paid directly to them.

FODDC and CDC council's bespoke service provides ongoing tenancy support to both tenants and landlords. The council teams can help to bridge any communication gaps, and help tenants with a range of things from navigating the benefits system, to helping somebody gain employment; ultimately helping to sustain tenancies.

Both also have in house client support officers who can assist people in financial difficulty by offering advice and assistance.

In some circumstances where people are suffering exceptional hardship an extra payment called a Discretionary Housing Payment can be awarded to help with housing costs. This can be a real lifeline for those looking to leave temporary accommodation and move back into a property they can call home.

Cllr Di Martin, cabinet member for housing at FODDC, said: "If you're a landlord with property available for private letting, there's never been a better time to work with our private rented team here at Forest of Dean District Council."

Cllr Lisa Spivey, cabinet member for housing at CDC, added: "If you have an empty property this scheme will help you bring in an income and you'll be able to make a real difference to the lives of local people who've been struggling with the knock on effects of this pandemic."

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