Groundbreaking boost for private rented homes in Midhurst and Chichester area

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A GROUNDBREAKING new initiative designed to boost Chichester District Council’s access to private rented housing has been approved.

The aim is to ‘significantly reduce’ homelessness in the district, reduce major pressure on the council’s temporary accommodation at Westward House, in Chichester, and minimise the use of costly bed and breakfast accommodation.

The scheme involves the creation of the council’s own professionally-managed in-house lettings agency. The authority will enter into legal agreements with private landlords, to manage homes on their behalf.

Incentives will be offered to the landlords, including a reduced management fee structure compared to the average open-market charge.

CDC’s cabinet was told there had been a decrease in the number of properties the council could access, so incentives were proposed, to encourage landlords to provide it with homes it could use.

Cllr Eileen Lintill said it was vital the council improved access to the private rented sector – fewer homes were being made available at the moment.

“This is an exciting and innovative proposal to run our own in-house lettings agency which will save the council money and hopefully provide more houses,” she added.

Cllr Myles Cullen said: “We need more properties for these people - this is a given. This is the best way to achieve that at the best price.”

A cabinet report said that if the supply of private homes was not increased, then an increase in homelessness was ‘all but inevitable’.

Initial calculations showed the new agency was predicted to make a loss in year one of £14,546, followed by a small profit of £9,608 in year two, increasing to £22,706 in year three.

It would require two posts on a full-time basis.

The report said it was acknowledged many properties might not initially be of the required standard.