First family handed house keys under Council leasing scheme

    A South Cambridgeshire family has become the first to be rehoused through the District Council’s private sector leasing scheme.

    Shire Homes has been set up by South Cambridgeshire District Council as way of helping residents who need assistance to be able to afford to rent a private property locally.

    Landlords sign up for a minimum of 3 years to let their good quality properties via this comprehensive management scheme, which offers guaranteed rental income. The Council takes over management of the properties and offers them to those needing homes at an affordable rent below market rate.

    The first property to be offered via Shire Homes, in Foxton, has now been let, with a family receiving the keys and moving in at the start of the month.

    Cllr Lynda Harford, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “This is a well-thought-out project that primarily offers us an additional resource for providing homes at affordable rents.

    “It’s no secret that there is a pressing need for more housing options in South Cambridgeshire, and this sits alongside our affordable housing schemes and council owned housing.

    “Shire Homes will really help those residents who may find themselves at risk of being made homeless and are struggling to afford alternative private accommodation in an area where rents are extremely high.

    “The scheme also offers landlords complete peace of mind, and I’m delighted with the feedback we’ve been given about her experience by the first property owner to work with us.”

    Claire Wilkinson, the landlord who is the first to officially sign up her property in Foxton with Shire Homes, said: “The complete package offered by Shire Homes gives a huge amount of peace of mind. 

    “The guaranteed rent, careful selection of tenants to match the property as well as comprehensive maintenance of the property during and at the end of the lease means that I feel confident to leave the property to their professional care.  

    “I am delighted that my property has been made available to provide a home for those who need it most. 

    “Leasing it through Shire Homes provides the best possible outcome, allowing others the opportunity to find their feet in a home of their own.”

    Rachel Lloyd, who is from Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth, and has moved her family into the property in Foxton, said: “The scheme has been a real benefit to us. It helped us to get a home when we were unable to elsewhere due to credit issues.

    “All the staff we have had contact with have been very professional and helpful, going beyond their roles, even entertaining our baby while I dealt with contracts!

    “The property is lovely. It was very clean and excellently presented. We’re looking forward to making it a home for our family.”

    The Council is now finalising details for a second home to be offered out in this way, and is aiming to bring a total of 40 homes onto the private rental market via Shire Homes within the next 12 months.

    The Shire Homes management service offers landlords lettings services, property inspections, rent and service charge collection, repairs and guaranteed rental income even when properties are empty.

    It is anticipated that good quality properties ranging in size from a bedsit to a four bedroom house will become part of the scheme.

    The Council has so far received more than 60 enquiries from landlords interested in becoming a part of this scheme.

    If you are a landlord and want to find out more information about Shire Homes, contact Louise Moulding at South Cambridgeshire District Council on louise.moulding@scambs.gov.uk or by calling 01954 713 046.

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