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A pilot scheme has been launched in Oldham which aims to improve property standards and increase housing supply in Oldham’s private rental sector.
The pilot scheme also intends to boost awareness and engagement in the sector. The scheme plans to use cash incentives to encourage private landlords to improve sub-standard rental properties in Oldham to ensure that they meet minimum housing standards.
The new policy would see a set of minimum property standards introduced. Landlords would be paid a cash incentive when they signed a contract with the council.
The council has decided to implement the scheme in the local private rental sector in the hope that it will lead to a higher quality of private rental housing. There is currently a chronic shortage of social housing in Oldham which has led to a serious imbalance in supply and demand in the sector. This has therefore left the council aiming to encourage more people to consider living in the private rental sector.
In order to support tenants and encourage landlords to sign up to the new initiative, a bond scheme is being introduced which guarantees that the landlord can claim money from the council. This is normally equivalent to one month’s rent and will be offered if their property is not left in a suitable condition once the tenant moves out.
A report by Albert Margai, the Oldham Council’s principal housing market intervention officer, found that demand for social housing in Oldham is currently three times higher than its neighbouring authorities, Bury, Rochdale and Tameside.
He said: ‘The lack of sufficient social rented housing placed an enormous demand on the private sector to address the growing demand for housing. The demand for private rented accommodation in Oldham has been unprecedented, demonstrated by record numbers of applicants approaching Oldham Housing Advice Service. The increased pressures led to the emergence of low demand areas in Oldham, rife with predominately outdated pre 1919 terraced housing stock.’