Hastings Borough Council’s Cabinet agreed at its meeting on Monday evening (February 2nd) to approve a new scheme to help local people find suitable housing.
Council leader Cllr Jeremy Birch explained: “Private sector rented accommodation in Hastings is becoming a real problem for local people. Many low income households have said how difficult it is to get suitable accommodation because of the level of fees and deposits charged by letting agents and landlords, and a reluctance by some of these to let to those who receive housing benefit.
“We also continue to receive complaints about the poor quality of accommodation, and the standard of housing management offered to some of those who have managed to find housing.
“We have therefore been exploring other options which provide good quality, affordable accommodation to local people.
“At our meeting on Monday, we agreed to trial a scheme which will see the council leasing up to 100 homes a year from property owners. We would then rent out the property to those in need of housing. We would be the landlord and responsible for paying a leasing fee to the owner, and we would manage the property.
“We hope to start the scheme this April.
“We think this innovative scheme will benefit both those looking for a home, particularly those in danger of becoming homeless, and landlords, who will get a guaranteed, hassle-free fee.
“If the scheme is as successful as we hope and think it will be, we will look at increasing the number of properties we let in future years. We hope also that running this leasing scheme will give us the experience and expertise for the second stage of the project which is the development of a social letting agency, run by us, to manage private sector housing in the town.
“We are determined to improve the quality of housing in the town, and our Cabinet’s decision on Monday is a major step forward to achieving this.”