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Grant supports rented housing stock assessment

22 January 2020 : Housing news

SWT will use a Government grant to update and improve its data and policies around private rented sector accommodation.

The Council made a successful bid for the money from the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) under its Private Rented Sector (PRS) Innovation and Enforcement Grant Fund.

The award of £66,000 will be used to carry out a district-wide private rented sector stock assessment to provide up-to-date intelligence, and facilitate new Council policies and procedures to ensure consistent, quality service to customers.

Executive Member for Housing, Cllr Fran Smith, said: “The service has been provided in house since the formation of Somerset West and Taunton Council, rather than through the Somerset West Private Sector Housing Partnership.

We are taking this opportunity to review our data and provide a current, comprehensive HMO Register. This means we will get an accurate picture of the private rented sector accommodation in our area and identify issues that we need to address to efficiently target our resources.

It will also enable the Council to better support private sector tenants and where necessary to target enforcement action against non-compliant landlords.”

SWT has commissioned the Building Research Establishment to undertake the private rented stock assessment which should be completed by mid-March.

The data will be used to devise a comprehensive service work plan for 2020-21 to ensure properties meet the legal housing standards.

It will also provide the Council with information on poor conditions and vulnerable tenants, allowing it to prioritise pro-active enforcement action against
landlords who fail to comply.