Birmingham recruits private landlords to house homeless

Birmingham City Council has launched a scheme to incentivise private landlords to offer tenancies to people on its homeless and housing registers.
Birmingham City Council has signed up private landlords to offer tenancies to people on its homeless and housing registers. Credit: Wonjong Oh/Pixabay

Birmingham City Council has launched a scheme to help hundreds of people find affordable housing and support landlords in the private sector.

The scheme will incentivise landlords who offer 12-month fixed tenancies to people on the council’s homeless register and its housing register.

The range of incentives being offered to landlords include insurance, rental deposits and rental guarantees, a lack of which often deter private landlords from accepting tenancies from people on benefits, the council’s housing register, or low-income families.

The scheme is being carried out in partnership with Help2Rent, a platform which helps match tenants with social homes.

Cllr Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods at Birmingham City Council, said, “In the last decade, homelessness has risen exponentially and a lack of affordable housing, as well as the impact of the COVID pandemic across the city, is only exacerbating the situation with Birmingham receiving more than 6,000 homeless applications in the last year.

“I’m extremely pleased that we have been able to launch this scheme that will provide the reassurances that landlords in the private-sector need, to allow us to rent their properties to those with lower incomes and provide much needed housing.”

Birmingham City Council is the largest local authority housebuilder in the UK, as the council’s housebuilding company Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT) plans to build 2,708 homes between 2019 and 2029.

However, with 13,000 people on its housing register, the council says it can ‘no longer meet the current level of demand needed to prevent homelessness’ across Birmingham, hence why it is calling on the private rented sector for help.

At the scheme’s launch, 93 households from the council’s homeless register were identified and paired with private landlords who have used the scheme to accept new tenancies.

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