New 'benchmark'-setting lettings agency aimed at improving rented homes could be up and running in Northampton by April

Northampton Borough Council is on the verge of setting up a social lettings agency in the town.
Northampton Borough Council is on the verge of setting up a social lettings agency in the town.
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Northampton Borough Council is set to give the green light to a new social lettings agency - which it claims will act as a "benchmark" for responsible landlords in the town.

The agency, part of the Conservative group's manifesto, aims to improve standards in Northampton’s private rented sector, bring empty homes back into use and make it easier for people to access private rented accommodation.

Om Wednesday a business case for the scheme is set to be presented to the council's cabinet, which sets out how it will be funded, who it will help and the impact it is likely to have on the local housing market.

Cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, Councillor Stephen Hibbert, said: “We announced, some time ago, that we are keen to develop a social lettings agency to help meet the increasing need for affordable and well managed private rented accommodation in Northampton.

“I am delighted with the ideas that have been put forward for the cabinet’s consideration and I am hoping that, if the business case is agreed at next week’s Cabinet meeting, we will start recruiting members of the team within the next few weeks.”

The social lettings agency will let and manage private rented accommodation, on behalf of owners, in return for a management fee.

It will also help to bring empty homes back into use by providing the owners with advice on the range of options available to them, including the option of leasing the property to the council for a period of up to seven years.

The council says the agency will introduce a simplistic fee and charge system, which will "set a new benchmark for letting agents and encourage good practice."

If the business case is approved at the cabinet meeting, the social lettings agency will have a team of five staff and a dedicated website, could launch as early as April.

If you are a landlord and you would like to find out more about the social lettings agency, contact Robert Endersby by emailing REndersby@northampton.gov.uk