Private tenants in Portsmouth to benefit from interest free deposits and loans
INTEREST free deposits and loans could be provided by the council to residents struggling to rent privately.
Portsmouth City Council will also provide a cash bond as a safety net for landlords against rent arrears, damage or theft in a bid to help tenants find a home.
The council's housing boss, Councillor Darren Sanders, approved the new measures as part of a 12 month pilot at a meeting last night (Jan 27).
He said: 'We have got lots of people who want to rent privately or are so far down on the waiting list that privately renting is the quickest way to find somewhere to live.
'But there are a lot of barriers to getting there, it's not just about the state of the property it's about the financial problems.
'This is for people who have not got much money at the end of the week. While I would love rent control the chances of that happening under this government are zero to none.
'We have to make changes that are sustainable.
'It's tackling a long term problem that should have been tackled a long time ago.'
It comes after a cash boost of more than £85,000 from government was awarded to the council to compile a comprehensive private housing database.
Tory spokesman for housing, Cllr Scott Payter-Harris, was keen the data was finalised. He said: 'I have concerns that we need to know how much money will be spent. We can't afford to waste taxpayers' money.
'I have concerns about the rent in advance. Some people can't help themselves. I don't want to put anyone in a position where they can't pay.'
Deposit and rent loans would be provided by a community bank following a referral by the council.
Wayne Layton, finance manager for the council, said: 'I have been in discussions with the community bank. What we are trying to do here is not set people up to fail.
'There's a process in place where the community bank will assess whether someone is able to pay and if they can't they won't be given a loan.'
Cllr Sanders ruled that any financial loss would be borne by the leader's portfolio.
A six month review will be conducted on the trial.