A new scheme will encourage landlords to rent out their flats, even if they have been left empty, sometimes for years.
Southwark council has agreed to pay landlords to rent their unused properties to those most in need of a home.
The scheme, which is aimed at addressing the chronic homelessness issue in London, not only guarantees rent, but unlike less scrupulous ‘guaranteed rent’ schemes, makes no profit, takes no fees or charges, and includes insurance.
The council then manages the property to a high standard for the landlord or homeowner. Since 2011, the council has helped more than 500 landlords to let their properties.
Councillor Kieron Williams, cabinet member for housing management and modernisation, said: “This is a win-win for tenants, landlords and the council. We have nearly 4,000 households coming to us because they are at risk of homelessness every year.
“Yet at the same time many private homes in London are sitting empty for months, or even years, on end. This scheme is turning them from empty properties back into homes.
“It is part of our commitment to do everything we can to ensure all of our residents have a place to call home. We’re already London’s largest council landlord and building thousands more council homes.
“But with 11,000 households on our housing waiting list we know we need to use every route we can to help people find decent, secure and affordable homes. This scheme is doing just that and giving landlords a reliable income and help with tenant management, too.”
Southwark council works in partnership with potential tenants on how to conduct themselves as excellent tenants, provides support with benefits information including how to claim Universal Credit and the importance of paying rent on time via weekly tenancy workshops.