Mendip District Council sets up lettings agency

Mendip District Council is to set up a lettings agency to help vulnerable people get into long-term accommodation and to reduce homelessness.

The not-for-profit agency will guarantee rent to private landlords for tenants receiving benefits.

Housing Options Manager, Jay Vick, said: "We want landlords to be assured their rent will be covered."

It is also hoped the lettings agency will reduce the cost of keeping families in temporary accommodation.

'Shortage of properties'

An increase in homelessness in the Mendip area led to the council spending £250,000 in placing families in bed and breakfast accommodation during this financial year.

"In Mendip we have a shortage of properties, it's got five small market towns but the bank of private lets is not as readily available as some of the larger towns.

"With the benefit rates being cut by central government, pressure is on with people trying to access housing within their benefit rates, so we need to help them access more affordable private-let properties," said Ms Vick.

The council has estimated the lettings agency will make savings of £164,000 within the first three years of operation.

Support will also be given to tenants to ensure they keep within the terms of the tenancy agreement.

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