As the housing crisis deepens, as more landlords decide to sell their rental properties because of increased taxation and legislation, steps are being taken to help alleviate the situation. The investment in build-to-rents continues, although certainly not at a fast enough pace to make much difference now. But there are other smaller initiatives which, if adopted more widely, could have a positive impact today.
For instance, Peterborough City Council has launched a new private-rental scheme in a bid to provide more properties for tenants. The scheme is aimed at landlords who would like a long-term tenant and guaranteed rent. Landlords have the option of leasing their private properties to the local authority for up to five years. The aim is to help the council cut the number of people on the housing register. The council will take on full responsibility for the property throughout the term of the tenancy. Peterborough Council has a good record in easing the housing shortage. In the past five years, the local authority has helped to bring 663 privately-owned empty properties back into use. This, in turn, helps to alleviate the problem of homelessness within the city. Peterborough City Council cabinet member for housing, Councillor Peter Hiller, said that empty properties are a national problem, but they are making great progress locally. This is an interesting initiative which could be adopted by other councils. Landlords benefit by having guaranteed rents and another party taking care of property maintenance. Councils help to alleviate the problems of homelessness and tenants are given a decent property in which to live.
Property management and development company, Places for People, is also targeting the private-rental sector. Places for People and the Universities Superannuation Scheme have launched a £330 million venture to invest in privately-rented residential properties. The partnership will acquire a portfolio from Places for People, which includes a range of modern properties. The funding for this will be used to increase further private-rental properties around the UK. Places for People group chief executive, David Cowans, said the partnership will boost its fund management business. This provides a new stream of revenue to speed up the delivery of new properties, and will also attract wider investment.
Part of the regeneration project in central Edinburgh is to provide a build-to-rent village. Housing developer, Moda Living and Apache Capital have put in plans for 221 homes in their Springside masterplan. This is one of the biggest housing projects in Scotland. Once completed, Springside will offer more than 500 homes to rent, as well as commercial space, to house a community of around 1,000 people.
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