Issued by City of York Council
City of York Council’s plans to boost and improve York’s private rented sector is opening the door to comments from across the city to ensure its actions will ensure the homes remain amongst the very best available.
Formally launching on Friday 18 October at the council’s Housing Summit – the high point of Housing Week 2013 – the private sector housing strategy will be shared amongst landlords, stakeholders, tenants and partners.
With 85 per cent of all homes in York either privately owned or rented, this plan will impact on a significant proportion of the community.
Earlier this year and in anticipation of the strategy, the council has supported property owners to return or convert buildings back into domestic use – notably the White Swan – as well as helping home owners and landlords and tenants cut fuel bills and maximise energy efficiency.
The council has been developing a new landlord accreditation scheme called YorProperty to help raise standards of rented accommodation, which will be a focus of the Landlord’s Fair on 17 October (part of Housing Week) when the draft will also be presented to those attending.
Whilst York has a relatively low level of long-term empty properties, stiff competition for homes in York means every home counts. Returning empty buildings back into use remains a top priority.
The draft strategy also addresses other issues, such as poor housing conditions and standards. Good quality housing is central to people’s health, wellbeing and prosperity and York requires a good supply to meet wider aims such as tackling poverty and supporting a growing economy.
Overall, the city has a relatively low proportion of non-decent homes and good levels of energy efficiency. But there are certain areas or sectors where standards are not so good.
Levels of non-decency are highest in the private rented sector and particularly in shared accommodation. The proportion of private rented homes has grown significantly in recent years and is expected to continue and the plan aims to address concerns that tighter household budgets could result in worsening conditions as repair and maintenance works are put off.
Fuel poverty rates have doubled from eight percent in 2008 to 16 percent. The strategy shows what will be done to tackle this issue, such as making sure homes are better insulated and helping households use energy more efficiently.
Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing, Cabinet Member for Health, Housing and Adult Social Services, said: “Whilst overall standards are good, poor conditions can still be found across the city and that is not acceptable.
“There’s always more we can do to ensure homes are fit for the future and there should be a higher minimum standard. I want to see a strong focus on the private rented sector condition in the coming years, given the increasingly important role it plays.
“The strategy highlights where further action is needed.”
Views of the strategy are now needed. Feedback will be used to shape the final strategy due for publication in the New Year.
For more information, email Paul McCabe or call him on 01904 554527 or call Ruth Abbott on 01904 554092.
Alternatively complete the short questionnaire on the council’s Housing Week web page. The closing date for feedback is 22 November 2014.
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