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Caerphilly Politics South Wales

New leasing deal with private landlords could help cut housing waiting lists

Caerphilly County Borough Council offices in Tredomen (Pic: LDRS)

SIGNING up to a Welsh Government leasing scheme could help cut housing waiting lists across Caerphilly County Borough, councillors hope.

The government’s Leasing Scheme Wales initiative offers incentives to landlords who lease their properties to councils, who then rent them to tenants.

The scheme is designed to improve access and affordability in the private rental sector, and also provide more security to landlords who know their property will be managed by the local council.

Caerphilly County Borough Council did not initially sign up to the scheme, because in 2018 it launched its own Caerphilly Keys service, which fulfils a similar role with the private sector.

Speaking to the council’s housing committee on Tuesday June 18, Cllr Shayne Cook, the cabinet member for housing, said several factors had changed since declining the government’s initial offer.

Cllr Cook said there is “now an appetite among some landlords” to pursue the leasing arrangement the government scheme provides.

Joining the scheme could also help the council with its own ambitions to tackle empty properties, he added.

Committee member Cllr Judith Pritchard said “anything we can do to alleviate homelessness would be a good thing” but warned the council would have to be sure the scheme would work effectively.

Cllr Marina Chacon-Dawson asked how the council could be sure landlords signing up to the scheme are providing good-quality housing.

Kerry Denman, Caerphilly Council’s housing solutions manager, told the committee the local authority “won’t sign anything” until it is satisfied properties meet Welsh Government standards.

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Caerphilly Keys officers regularly inspect homes under their management, said Nick Taylor-Williams, the council’s head of housing – adding that similar arrangements would be in place for the leasing deal, including for grants payable to landlords for making home improvements.

“Works to the properties have to be done before the grant is awarded,” he explained. “It’s [done] in arrears, effectively, and we are reimbursing them at that point.”

Ms Denman also said the council will “intervene” if there is any “inappropriate behaviour” from tenants in any of the leased properties.