Landlords and tenants are to be helped during Covid by a ground-breaking scheme launched today by Leicester City Council, an initiative that other councils around the UK will be watching with interest.
The council wants to help prevent evictions and, in the absence of a direct financial support scheme in England for either tenants or landlords during Covid from government, will offer to help landlords financially.
The council’s new service is designed to support landlords where their tenants are not fulfilling their legal obligations, or where financial difficulties have developed.
Examples include mediation and negotiation between tenants and landlords, facilitating payments to sustain tenancies in certain cases, or arranging for discretionary payments to solve affordability problems. The team also has strong links with universal credit and housing benefit services.
“It will focus on preventing homelessness by helping tenants who are renting privately to sustain their tenancies, making sure that landlords can rest assured on matters of income,” the council says.
The Leicester scheme is unusual because it is being offered to all PRS tenants and landlords across the city and not just those with direct links to the council.
“The council may be the biggest landlord in the city, but many of our most vulnerable residents rent from private landlords,” says Assistant city mayor for housing Elly Cutkelvin.
“We recognise that this sector has a very big part to play in meeting the needs of some of those who are most in need of a housing solution.”
“We rely on the support of responsible private landlords to help us provide homes, so it’s vital that we grow and maintain good relationships with landlords, as part of an overall housing strategy that also includes building more council homes.”
Local landlords interested in getting help should email firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance.