Northumberland County Council’s cabinet has approved a five-year plan for the county’s private housing sector.
The Northumberland Private Sector Housing Strategy outlines how the council will aim to make improvements to the county’s privately rented accommodation, by empowering owners and occupiers to maintain and repair their homes. It also wants to increase the number of private homes that are available by tackling empty properties and to improve rented homes and management standards by working with private landlords.
Around 81 per cent of Northumberland’s 138,534 homes are in the private sector, either owner occupied (66 per cent) or rented from a private landlord (15 per cent).
As a housing authority, the county council has a legal duty to identify and meet housing need and this includes in the private sector.
The main aims of the new private-sector housing strategy are to encourage and enable owner-occupiers to maintain and repair their homes; maximise the use of the existing housing stock; improve energy efficiency in the private sector; and bring empty homes back into use.
The strategy will be the county council’s main plan for owner-occupied and privately rented homes in Northumberland, covering the period to 2020.
Coun Allan Hepple, cabinet member responsible for economic growth, said: “There has been a significant increase in the number of households in the private-rented sector – up 40 per cent from 2001 to 2011. This makes it even more important that the council fully understands the private rental market and engages with landlords, agents and tenants to promote good quality standards.
“The council wants to ensure that people who rent properties across Northumberland have access to a home that is safe, warm and affordable and we want people to know that support is available. The approval of the five-year private housing plan is a significant step forward in helping both residents and landlords to achieve this.”