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Council in desperate plea for help from private landlords

A council in a second home and short let hotspot is making a desparate plea to private landlords for help.

Torbay Council, covering Torquay and Paigton in south Devon, says it urgently needs properties for local families, couples and single people looking for permanent homes.

“Torbay is in the midst of a housing crisis: there aren’t enough homes for people in need of one or those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Many landlords in the Bay have properties available for rent – and we're asking them to come forward and give people a secure home. We're looking for everything from rooms in shared houses to six-bed family homes” says a statement from the authority.


It says benefits for landlords include dull control over who moves into the property, a tenant suitability and affordability assessment, a five-week deposit and one month’s rent in advance, minimal voids and professional property assessments and tenancy reviews.

Council leader Steve Darling says: “Many visitors who come to visit Torbay are right to love our natural setting, but may not realise the housing challenges that some people in our communities face. Like other areas, we have a growing number of people who need somewhere to live. This is coupled with a shortage of properties, particularly in the rented sector.

“Many households are struggling to find affordable properties due to recent rent increases and the threat of losing their home is very real for many ordinary families working in essential, frontline roles. We need to house our families in order for children to take up school spaces in September.”

And councillor Darren Cowell, deputy leader, adds: “We’re appealing to landlords out there to get in touch. You may be a buy-to-let investor who has a portfolio of properties or a builder who’s renovated a ‘fixer upper’ and is ready to let it out. Perhaps you’re moving in with a partner and need someone to rent out your home. Or maybe you’ve inherited your family home from a deceased parent and don’t want to sell it just yet.

“We know there are landlords out there with homes of all sizes and we’d love them to get in touch. There are a range of benefits to make the rental process as smooth as possible. If you’re a landlord with a home to offer, you’ll be making a huge difference to people’s lives and giving families their ‘forever’ home.”

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    Let them stew. I would rather keep my homes empty than let them to the council that rips me off.

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    I let one property through a similar scheme in a different council area and it's been OK. The housing team have been good to deal with and the tenant is mainly trouble free. He reports any maintenance issues appropriately, is very willing to do minor repairs himself (such as replacing a broken door handle, which I paid for but it saved me a 20 mile round trip), is always willing to be there for tradesmen, gets on well with the neighbours, etc. The only problems we have had have all been related to Universal Credit not working very well with his fortnightly pay days. We have now settled on him paying rent fortnightly instead of monthly and that seems to be working fine at the moment.
    The nice thing about the scheme is that I can phone them as soon as any payment issues arise and they will make sure he's receiving everything he's entitled to.


    Hi Jo, nice comment. I have only had bad experiences in this arena but like to keep an open mind. If Council's are willing to work closely with Landlord's that would be a start. I did look into this in Bedford with tenants coming out from London. When the Council told me that I could not visit my property and I could not choose the tenant then I told them to forget it.
    Pleased that is is working for you and show's that all Council's are not incompetent!


    Be wary; I did exactly the same thing many years ago, allowing 2 properties to be rented to council tenants through a council run company. This was ok until funding dried up & the organisation was disbanded; they simply walked away leaving me with 2 ex-con tenants, one of who has actually turned out to be a really great guy, and the other is an alcoholic who keeps the place in a truly disgusting state and really needs someone to 'manage' him because he's 'not well' (his words). Add to this ongoing problems with council payments being abruptly stopped and having to be reapplied for (at great length) and this is why I'll literally never rent to council tenants ever again after this. Not at all because 'council tenants' are all bad, but the attitude of the council regarding rental payments - they don't work with you, they don't get that there should be communication, they simply stop paying without warning & your tenant (and you) have to jump through hoops to get things back on track.


    Andy and Mark - I think the format the scheme is in makes a huge difference. Some councils want complete control of the property and put whoever they want in it.
    Others are acting more in a letting agent role.
    The one I use took the details of the property, listened to what I wanted and the kind of person I envisaged the flat suiting. Then arranged for me to meet the most suitable candidate and provided full income and budgeting information. I then carried out standard referencing just to check for CCJs and traceable history. I didn't expect him to pass referencing but I did want to know what it would reveal. It was entirely my choice whether to proceed with that applicant.
    He moved in well over 2 years ago and in that time I've phoned the Council team 2 or 3 times when his rent payment has been a bit shaky. Each time they have listened to the issues, contacted him and arranged for further budgeting help.
    I realise I'm lucky to be operating in an area with an incredibly proactive housing team. When they find landlords who will work with them they do their best not to alienate us.

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    Their pleas are to the wrong group. They should be to the government to take their foot off landlords necks starting with section 24! It ain’t rocket science!!!

  • George Dawes

    Changed their tune eh ? Incompetent inefficient public sector relying as usual on the total opposite private sector …

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    Dream on 🙄 not a hope in hell, I visit (as part of my job), a lot of these council tenants and you are playing Russian roulette if you agreed to this. My properties will never be involved in this scheme. The council’s need to petition the government to build more social housing for rent…. That are not then sold off a few years later at a discounted rate 😱😱

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    Council referred tenants? not a chance, the property would sit empty first

  • Zoe S

    Some years ago I thought it would be a good option to handover a couple of my properties directly to Haringey Council on a 3 year tenancy agreement.

    At some point during the tenancy I had discovered that the properties were left to deteriorate, they were disgusting! Based on that I had decided not renew the tenancy agreement, and so prior to the tenancy agreement coming to an end I had given the required notice requesting the return of my properties with vacant possession.

    On the “moving out date” they did not relocate their tenants. Haringey councils excuse was that “they needed more time” as they had a shortage of properties and could not relocate their tenants.

    I was sympathetic for a while ..but It reached a point whereby it became apparent that Haringey council had no intentions of moving their tenants out, which resulted in me having no choice but to take legal action.

    Shockingly a few days before the court case I had received a call from the director of housing (at Haringey council) trying to persuade me to drop the case. His tactics did not work.

    At the court hearing the judge gave the council an eviction date, and ordered to pay all of my legal fees and compensation for the deterioration of my properties so I could then renovate them back to their original condition (less any wear & tear).

    Where do you think the council found the money to compensate me?

    From when I had started the process it had taken almost two years to evict the council from my properties. I had never expected anything like that from a council, it was one of my worse rental experiences.

    Would I ever rent to the council again?



    Your story doesn't surprise me one bit Zoe, golden rule never never deal with a council, totally untrustworthy the lot of them

  • jeremy clarke

    Ha, why would any landlord want to deal with local authorities who, as soon as tenants are given notice, advise them to stay put until landlords take them to court? Tell them to ask shelter (the charity that houses nobody and receives millions each year in government grants) to provide housing! Private landlords are leaving the PRS in their droves due to the actions of shelter and the stupid attitude of government.

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    And yet the government do all it can to snuff out the private rental sector. What is happening in Torquay is just a glimpse of what it will be like when we have all sold off some of our houses and then there will be severe shortages in all towns up and down the country.


    I think there is a severe shortage most every where already


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