Private landlords can help to alleviate Peterborough’s desperate need to get people off the housing register.
Peterborough City Council is starting a leasing scheme which gives landlords of private properties the option to lease them to the authority for five years, with guaranteed rent.
The council will take on responsibility for maintaining the home and will look to move tenants in from its housing register.
One landlord who has begun using the service is Alan Graham, who owns 25 properties, most of which are in and around Peterborough. Mr Graham (51) is now preparing to lease his third property (and second in Orton Malborne) to the council to use.
Describing his experiences with the scheme so far, he said: “It’s gone so well, that’s why I’ve looked to provide more properties and become more involved.
“The benefit I’m getting is I do not have to worry about a minor problem at the property because the council is there. They look after minor issues and give me confidence.
“Everyone I have dealt with is very professional. You can sit back and not be stressing about every issue.
“The rent comes in regularly and I’m not worrying about a tenant not paying their rent and having to evict them. That’s a landlord’s biggest nightmare.”
Mr Graham, who lives near Peterborough, worked in the pharmaceutical industry and started investing in property for a retirement nest egg.
He has also taught science and maths at Ken Stimpson Community School.
He added: “There’s a housing problem in Peterborough and the council has been quite astute in putting this scheme together.”
Of the 574 privately-owned properties in the city that have been empty for more than six months, 31 per cent (179 empty homes) were brought back into use by the council last year.
In the last five years the council has helped to bring 663 empty homes back into use, generating more than £3 million for the authority from the Government’s New Homes Bonus scheme.
Homelessness has been a huge problem in Peterborough in the last couple of years, with a 200 per cent rise during that period.
Cllr Peter Hiller, council cabinet member for housing, said: “Empty homes are a national problem and locally we are making great progress. I am proud of the work we have already done, but we are always looking to do more.”
For more information about the leasing scheme, or for any advice on dealing with empty properties, contact the council’s Empty Homes Service on 01733 452544 or visit the council’s Empty Homes webpage.