Landlords say new council scheme to rent out flats in Portsmouth will not work

Portsmouth City Council is trying to get more affordable housing in the city on the market
Portsmouth City Council is trying to get more affordable housing in the city on the market
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LANDLORDS have voiced concerns that a new council scheme in Portsmouth to rent private flats at affordable prices is like trying to 'fit a square peg in a round hole.'

Portsmouth City Council is offering to lease properties from private landlords at no cost - removing agency and management fees - in order to rent them at affordable prices to residents.

Provided through the council's rent it right team, housing boss Councillor Darren Sanders believed the system would benefit both tenants and landlords. 

He said: 'This scheme helps to do that by offering landlords and potential tenants greater security. For tenants, it's about offering more homes they can afford.

'For landlords, it's guaranteed rent, longer-term tenancies, upfront payments and a wealth of free support as the legal position changes. There are no management fees, it's not about profit, it's about doing the best for our residents.'

But members of the Portsmouth and District Private Landlords Association (PDPLA) said property owners should be 'cautious' as the rates they would receive through the council would be around 60 to 75 per cent of what they would get by renting privately.

Vice chairman of the PDPLA and Southsea landlord Alwin Oliver said: 'Even without agency fees and reduced maintenance they will lose money.

'Trying to get housing benefit dependant tenants to live in privately-rented homes is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

'It's not that anyone has done anything wrong or that landlords are particularly greedy it's just the system doesn't work at the moment.'

PDPLA chairman Martin Silman agreed. 'The problem with the scheme is that it pays a long way short of the market rent that landlords may require both to satisfy mortgage requirements and make it worthwhile to own the property,' he said. 'The concept is good but needs updating.’

The local plan for Portsmouth states that 30 per cent of homes in new developments must be affordable.

Landlords interested in the scheme can call 023 9284 1069 or email rentitright@portsmouthcc.gov.uk