Council’s HomeFinder service to expand
Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet will consider the next phase of Telford HomeFinder, an in-house, online letting agency launched last year, to respond to changes to the allocation of social housing.
The intention of Telford HomeFinder is to offer high quality, accredited landlord accommodation to anyone looking for a property in Telford and Wrekin including offering, viable, housing options for those in housing need.
Telford HomeFinder was launched in conjunction with the Telford & Wrekin Landlord Accreditation Scheme. All landlords and each individual property registered with the scheme have to meet the Council’s accreditation standard.
Since the launch of the accreditation scheme;
· 51 local landlords have been accredited
· More than 45 accredited properties have been advertised through the Telford HomeFinder website
· Over 25 properties have been leased to Telford HomeFinder clients
· Over 50 people requested have requested viewings on properties.
Since the launch landlords have been consulted on the operation and potential development of the scheme. This has identified a range of additional services that landlords have said would increase take up and revenue, including the provision of a property management service.
The report to Cabinet sets out how the Council proposes to develop the services provided by Telford HomeFinder to provide a property management service for landlords that will help us to meet housing need, tackle rogue landlords and raise standards in the private rented sector.
The Council’s Cabinet is being asked approve the second phase of development of Telford HomeFinder.
Many private letting agencies charge fees to tenants to cover costs for credit checks and obtaining references but the national housing charity, Shelter, is lobbying to stop these fees. Telford HomeFinder does not propose to charge tenant fees for the properties that they manage, minimising the costs for tenants before they have moved into a property.
The Telford HomeFinder website is being developed to offer both a landlord and tenant logging in section which will allow them to monitor and manage their tenancies.
Councillor Charles Smith, cabinet member for Housing, said: “Telford HomeFinder has proved popular and successful since its launched six months ago.
“We obviously want to help even more local people to find a rental property with us and the next stage of development should do this.
“It has been too easy in the past for people to be on a waiting list for years on end with no realistic prospect of being re-housed and Telford HomeFinder is helping to address this.
“I will be advising Cabinet to accept the recommendations in the report to enable the next stage of development to begin.”
The report will be considered by Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet on Thursday 29 January.