Bournemouth council has set up a private sector rental company which will see it buy properties and then let them.
The decision - driven, says the council, by a desire to cuts its current budget on temporary accommodation for individuals, couples and families in housing need - is expected to trigger the purchase of an estimated 60 properties over the next three years, at a cost of £10m.
It is also proposed that the council purchases additional properties directly, not through the company, in order to grant slightly different tenancies at different rent levels.
“We are under increased pressure with reduced funding from government to meet our homeless duty to support vulnerable people who find themselves without a home” says a council spokesman.
“The council must look at more innovative options in order to continue to meet this duty, and buying properties in this way enables the council to, in effect, operate as a private landlord and rent directly to homeless people. It will help us to reduce costs, for example, avoiding the use of expensive B&B accommodation” he says.
“By owning the properties it would mean that the council would be able to ensure the properties are good quality and well managed. In the longer-term any income generated and increase in property values would come back to the council to help fund additional services for vulnerable people.”