CHA Tenantsouncillor  Kevin Price, Labour’s Lead on Housing at Cambridge City Council, has said that the new letting agency established by 5 local authorities, Town Hall Lettings, to find private rented accommodation for homeless single people and families is a good initiative but that the City needs to take a broader view about working with private landlords. The new agency is based in the City Council and opens on 13 January 2014.

Councillor Price said: “The government has allowed councils to discharge their duty to house the homeless into the private sector, which generally offers less security and higher rents than socially rented homes.

Setting up this agency will help ensure that vulnerable homeless single people have help getting back on their feet whilst also providing private landlords with a management service and the security of a rent guarantee.”

“However the primary driver behind this is the large gap between private rents in this area and the Local Housing Allowance, which can be up to £120 a month even for shared housing. It could also mean that some are relocated out of the City into other cheaper areas. That could well suit a single person making a fresh start but we would not want to see families having to move a long distance from schools or work. Given the importance of the private rental sector in Cambridge we also want to see a whole new approach to working with landlords for all those looking for somewhere to rent, not just with the homeless to prevent them from becoming rough sleepers.”

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