Regulation for private landlords could be expanded to more Rotherham communities

More Rotherham neighbourhoods could be covered by licencing arrangements for landlords in future as the council consolidates work already done to improve conditions for tenants who rent from the private sector.

Monday, 18th March 2019, 3:45 pm
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 3:48 pm
Rotherham Town Hall

The authority has a long-term housing strategy, which has now been updated to take account of current conditions, which sets out the councils targets for improving the quality and range of its own housing stock in the years ahead, along with addressing the town’s overall housing needs.

It has already committed to spend  £57m on providing 576 new council homes, with some of those already constructed and others in the pipeline, to help cope with demand from the 6,500 people on the waiting list for local authority homes.

The council loses around 200 homes a year through the ‘right to buy’ scheme and the objective is to both replace those and create additional, good quality, homes.

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Coun Dominic Beck the ruling Cabinet’s spokesman for housing, told colleagues who approved an update on the housing strategy, said the selective licencing scheme – which compels landlords to comply with certain conditions – were “showing signs of success” and added: “We are hoping, potentially, to broaden our selective licencing scheme to include additional areas.”

One of the council’s initiatives is a ‘clusters’ programme, using seven plots of council owned land to provide 217 high quality homes, with sites which would have been unlikely to be found suitable for development using conventional methods.

From the total 83 will be sold outright, with 98 going into council housing stock, with 36 for shared-ownership schemes.

Original costs for that scheme, which is being pushed forwards in partnership with a development company, have gone awry, however, with the council now needing to pump in additional cash.

The reasons for rising costs include a national problem with rising prices for bricks and labour and unforseen groundwork problems on site.

Councillors had to option to scale back the scope of the developments to meet the existing budget, though that could have cost £2.1m due to a grant from Homes England being withdrawn, but have agreed to make more money available to complete the scheme as originally planned.

Details of the financial arrangements remain confidential, however, because the authority is working with a private sector partner.