06 Jan 2016

Housing and Planning

New incentives to encourage private landlords to help vulnerable households

Bristol City Council has announced a new range of initiatives to encourage private landlords to house vulnerable people in the city. 

The council is urging lettings agencies and property owners to help tackle one of Bristol’s main problems by letting good quality homes to households in housing need.

There are approximately 277 families in temporary accommodation, much of it within the private sector, and the council would like to be able to place them in long term decent private rented housing.

This week Mayor George Ferguson spoke to Bristol landlords to encourage them to sign up to housing more vulnerable people.

He said: “We have a major problem caused by the lack of affordable housing in Bristol but we hope that by working together we can make serious inroads to solve this issue.

 “Our incentives really can make this work for landlords and tenants alike. In fact we think that they match or exceed what the market generally expects.

“I am asking agents and landlords to be open to considering families in receipt of Housing Benefit, the vast majority of whom do make reliable tenants.”

Thanks to these new incentives, landlords can now benefit from:

  • A deposit bond to the value of two months’ rent and an advance payment of up to three months’ rent in value; OR one month’s rent in advance and rent guarantee insurance paid for a year in advance
  • A year in advance payment to ‘top up’ the monthly rent if it is up to £100 higher than the maximum Housing Benefit payable
  • Any Housing Benefit entitlement paid directly to the landlord or agent
  • Free property inspections and advice
  • A free written and photographic inventory
  • A named Housing Adviser who will be available to the landlord and tenant for the duration of the tenancy

The council can also offer a contribution towards the costs of electrical certification.

Brenda Massey, Assistant Mayor for People, said: “There is a growing housing crisis, particularly in the south of the country, where property prices and rents have risen significantly, at a time with increasingly limited availability of social housing.

“Increasing numbers of waged families are living in high cost temporary accommodation for far too long, and we believe private landlords can help us to address this issue.

“Staying in temporary accommodation is no good for families, the city council or its citizens, and we have a responsibility to get them into more stable accommodation.”

The new incentives come in response to results from a recent landlord survey.