Social lettings agency in Northampton would ‘guarantee’ good homes, says council leader

Northampton Borough Council is to discuss setting up a social lettings agency at the Guildhall next week.
Northampton Borough Council is to discuss setting up a social lettings agency at the Guildhall next week.

Plans to set up a social lettings agency offering approved standard rented homes in Northampton are to be discussed at the Guildhall next week.

In a report due to go before Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet, councillors are set to outline the first steps in setting up the new not-for-profit service, which would only accept “responsible” landlords on its boos, with properties in good condition.

Councillor Mary Markham, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “This would be an opportunity to promote our town as a place to live and call home as we focus on the quality and standards of private rented accommodation.

“Last year we began to tackle rogue landlords with new licensing powers to protect tenants and neighbourhoods. As a landlord we worked with our tenants to create Northampton Partnership Homes, which would deliver improvements to housing stock and services.

And now we are strengthening our private sector housing team to look at rented accommodation across the town.”

Councillor Markham said the private rented sector in Northampton was growing and the new social lettings agency would offer “guaranteed good-quality properties, at an affordable rent”, which would then be managed through the borough council.

The plans to set up such an agency were promised in both the controlling Conservative group and the Labour opposition manifestos prior to the May elections.

However leader of the Labour group Danielle Stone, (Lab, Castle) though welcoming the plans, has accused the Tories of stealing the idea.

She said: “I told the previous Leader of the Labour Group that it was an excellent idea and so it became one of our key pledges. Thankfully David Mackintosh thought it was a good idea as well and so stole it from Labour.”

But she added: “There are good landlords out there in the town and there are bad landlords and we believe a social lettings agency created by Northampton Borough Council can stop some of these awful landlords.”

The proposal will be discussed by Northampton Borough Council’s Cabinet at 6pm on Wednesday, October 21, in the Guildhall.

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