Social Lettings Agency to improve access to good quality, affordable rented accommodation

Published: Thursday, 05 January 2017

Northampton Borough Council’s plans to set up a social lettings agency will move a step closer this month, when the Cabinet considers the business case at a meeting on Wednesday 11 January.

The business case sets out how the social lettings agency will operate, how it will be funded, who it will help and the impact it is likely to have on the local housing market. It is hoped that the social lettings agency’s ethical practice – including the transparency, fairness and simplicity of its system of fees and charges – will set a new benchmark for letting agents and encourage good practice.

Working with private owners, the agency aims to improve standards in Northampton’s private rented sector, bring empty homes back into use and make it easier for people to access good quality, well managed, affordable private rented accommodation.

The social lettings agency will let and manage private rented accommodation, on behalf of owners, in return for a management fee. It will also help to bring empty homes back into use by providing the owners with expert advice on the full range of options available to them, including the hassle-free option of leasing the property to the Council for a period of up to seven years.

If the business case is approved at the Cabinet meeting, the social lettings agency will have a team of five staff and a dedicated website, and could launch as early as April.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Wellbeing, Cllr Stephen Hibbert, said: “We announced, some time ago, that we are keen to develop a social lettings agency to help meet the increasing need for affordable and well managed private rented accommodation in Northampton.

“I am delighted with the ideas that have been put forward for the Cabinet’s consideration and I am hoping that, if the business case is agreed at next week’s Cabinet meeting, we will be start recruiting members of the team within the next few weeks.”

If you are a landlord and you would like to find out more about the social lettings agency, please contact Robert Endersby by emailing [email protected]