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Rental help for those stuck in 'no man's land'

Published date: 14 May 2014 |
Published by: Romilly Scragg 
Read more articles by Romilly Scragg  Email reporter


 

RESIDENTS trapped in a ‘no man’s land’ will soon find it easier to rent homes on private estates.

Flintshire Council has established a new housing company which will provide fresh opportunities for working people to rent at affordable rates.

Homeowners over 55 will also be allowed to lease their homes to the wholly council-owned company which will manage them as rental properties.

The new company – North East Wales Homes – was created on April 3, it was announced yesterday at a meeting of Flintshire Council’s cabinet.

The company will manage properties to be let to residents at affordable rents.

And as reported last month in the Leader, some homes ‘gifted’ to the council as part of planning agreements with housing developers will also be included – as will some properties belonging to landlords.

Flintshire’s head of legal services Gareth Owens and head of housing Clare Budden said a new “landlord package” would allow homeowners
over 55 to lease their properties to North East Wales Homes.

Mr Owens said: “The company will fully manage the property and guarantee the rental income for a fixed 25 per cent of rental income monthly fee.”

Councillors were told a number of people were not able to afford a mortgage and found some rental charges too high.

Cllr Kevin Jones said the scheme would benefit those who previously had not been able to benefit from affordable housing.

“It will help people who are stuck in no man’s land at the moment,” he said. “This will be extremely attractive to that group of people.”

Council leader Aaron Shotton said the council was “very proud” of the initiative.

“These are for people who, when they look at their housing options, are not able to buy and when private rents are too much.”

He said gifted houses aimed to address that gap in the housing market.“We’re leading the way and others will follow,” he added.

Cllr Derek Butler applauded the move as “more evidence of the innovative way Flintshire operates”.

Cllr Chris Bithell described the initiative as “exciting and novel and something there’s a real need for”.

Councillors approved a nomination agreement be developed between the council and the company, providing 100 per cent nomination rights for all lettings.

When permission is granted for a large housing development, developers have to agree to built up to 30 per cent of so-called “affordable” homes.

In order to ensure such properties stay affordable, the developers will from now on “gift” the houses to the council which, via North East Wales Homes, will ensure through legal means the homes stay in the rented sector “in perpetuity” and cannot be sold.

At a recent Saltney Town Council meeting, Flintshire’s housing strategy officer Penny Storr said: “The idea is people can save for a deposit by paying a cheaper rent.”

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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