With more and more people private renting, it is important for landlords to keep on top of the changes that may affect them and their tenants – and the help that is available.
That is why West Suffolk councils and its partners are launching the West Suffolk Landlords Forum this year, with the first of its quarterly meetings due to take place toward the end of this month.
National figures last year suggest that as many as one in four households will privately rent by 2021, with demand on this sector increasing.
In West Suffolk, Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council are keen to work with landlords to ensure the availability and suitability of homes to meet growing demand.
Councillor Sara Mildmay-White, who is West Suffolk councils Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Private landlords play an important part in helping meet our local housing need. So it is important that we support them in practical ways such as this forum, where they can find out and keep on top of the latest changes to the law and to the benefits system, as well as how they can access the various grants available.
“The forum will also offer landlords the chance to learn more about our own West Suffolk Lettings Partnership which runs a guaranteed rent scheme.
“This is about us helping our local private landlords in looking after their tenants. Our overall aim is that this will become something that the landlords themselves will shape in terms of what support they need, what subjects they want to discuss and learn more about, and where and when these meetings should take place, with the council assisting in the running of this.”
The forum will be open to all private landlords in the West Suffolk area, whether they own a large portfolio of properties or just one or two. It will be free to attend and will also offer the chance for landlords to share their own examples of best practice.
The Department for Work and Pensions will be at the first forum to discuss Universal Credit and other changes to the benefit system, while the council’s Public Health and Housing team will advise on legislative changes. Members of the council’s Housing Options team will also outline the support that West Suffolk councils can provide to landlords.
Anglia Revenues Partnership will also be on hand to answer any questions. The forum is supported by the Eastern Landlords Association.
The first forum meeting will take place on Thursday, January 25, from 4pm to 6pm, at West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3YU. Book your place before January 18 by firstname.lastname@example.org
Future forums may be held at later times in the evening but that will be down to what landlords tell us they want.