Housing Minister recognises the work in west Cheshire to support residents

12 February 2018

The work of Cheshire West and Chester Council to help people on low incomes find a home has been commended by the Government.
Councillor Samantha Dixon, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, has been talking with the Government about the Council’s support for residents on low incomes who are having specific housing problems. 
Improving access to the private rented sector is of growing importance to providing homes for people unable to access social renting. However, there are many barriers currently preventing homeless people finding homes in this sector, such as prohibitively expensive deposits, rents, fees, and reluctance amongst many landlords to rent to vulnerable tenants. 
The charity Crisis has shown that fifty-five per cent of landlords in the private rented sector are unwilling to let to tenants in receipt of housing benefit or Universal Credit, and over eighty per cent are reluctant to rent to homeless people.
Councillor Dixon said: “In Cheshire West, we have done a lot to develop and maintain a meaningful relationship with private landlords. For example, we support a biannual Landlord Forum in partnership with the National Landlords Association, we are delivering an annual landlord training programme as well as giving landlords access to timely information via our quarterly landlord newsletter. 
“To help improve access for some of our most vulnerable residents we have developed a bespoke help to rent scheme called the ‘Private Landlord Service’ helping landlords that support the long term sustainability of private sector tenancies. 
“We have found that working closely with landlords helps to de-risk the private rented sector, and support homeless people, vulnerable tenants and landlords to make the private sector a viable option.”
Heather Wheeler MP, Minister for Housing and Homelessness, replied to Councillor Dixon in a letter: “I would like to commend the work being undertaken in Cheshire West to improve access to the private rented sector and to develop meaningful relationships with private landlords.
“We recognise that such work is an important part in both preventing and supporting people’s recovery from homelessness.”
Help to rent schemes are supported by Crisis, the National Landlords Association and the Residential Landlords Association. 
Support can include pre-tenancy training and ongoing support for homeless people when they become tenants, written guarantees for landlords in place of cash deposits and help to improve the function of Universal Credit so rents are paid on time. 
Providing support to landlords at an early stage helps to secure the sustainability of the tenancy.  
Cheshire West and Chester Council provides support for residents who feel they are in danger of becoming homeless or have housing problems. Over 2,000 people have benefited over the past year ensuring they maintain a safe place to live. For help and support, contact The West Cheshire Homes team email: westcheshirehomes@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk tel: 0300 123 2442

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