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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Council to spend £250,000 of public cash setting up lettings agency

Durham county council wants to spend just over £250,000 setting up a lettings agency to place tenants with private landlords.

The authority says it wants to use £252,538 it received from the government's Rapid Rehousing Pathway programme to establish an ‘arms-length’ agency. 

This agency aims to acquire five year leases on private properties across the county and use these homes to house individuals, couples and families in need.

At its meeting on Wednesday the full council will be asked to approve a series of recommendations including the establishment of the agency as a company limited by guarantee. 

A council spokesman says: “We know there are families who struggle to access housing for various reasons including being excluded from social housing.

"We have a duty to provide housing to some families but sometimes it is difficult to find suitable places for them which can result in us having to provide temporary accommodation such as hotels or bed and breakfasts, which is not ideal for the families or cost effective for us.

"We are really pleased to be moving forward with the creation of the agency which will allow us to provide decent, affordable private rental accommodation for households in need and on low incomes who would previously have been unlikely to access housing, while at the same time bringing back into use empty homes."

It is anticipated the agency will lease 70 properties in its first year.

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