North Oxfordshire landlords stand to benefit from a range of council support if they house those currently in emergency accommodation because of COVID-19.
At the end of March, Cherwell District Council worked with local hotels to make sure vulnerably housed people could access safe and self-contained accommodation during the pandemic. With moving home now permitted in some circumstances, as set out in Government coronavirus guidelines, the council is calling on landlords of one-bed flats or rooms in shared homes to help people find settled accommodation.
Those who do will receive a package of support under the Cherwell Bond Scheme and up to £15,000, if needed, to improve the property condition or convert the property to a shared house. As well as a bond that is double the value landlords would normally receive as a cash deposit, they can also avoid the costs of using a letting agency to advertise and let the property.
Cllr John Donaldson, Cherwell’s lead member for housing, said: “Everyone deserves a safe and secure place to call home, and that is truer than ever during this pandemic. In the past two months we have seen a sharp rise in the number of people needing emergency accommodation. With the help of local hotels we have done a good job at putting a roof over their heads. We are now planning for their longer-term futures and are ready to offer support and the opportunity to make improvements to properties for any landlords who are able to help us.”
The landlords will need to offer affordable tenancies of six months or more to qualify for the bond scheme benefits.
For each property made available to the scheme, the council offers landlord grant funding contributions of up to £15,000. This non-repayable grant money can be put towards a wide range of renovation and improvement works, including replacement bathrooms, HMO conversion, health and safety upgrades, and redecoration.
Other benefits of the Cherwell Bond Scheme include: support organising viewings and signing tenancy agreements; ongoing help with the cost of annual gas safety checks; an optional Government-approved model tenancy agreement; three months’ support from a council tenancy support officer; and six-monthly visits to assess property condition and discuss any issues.
Landlords who are interested in joining the scheme or in finding out more should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01295 227934.