A large local authority in Cumbria is calling on landlords who own empty properties they can’t rent out during the Coronavirus crisis to open them up to the council’s guaranteed rent scheme, and help homeless people.

Private landlords in Cumbria with empty properties are being urged to help out during the national emergency.

Copeland Council, which covers a huge coastal swathe of Cumbria including the port of Whitehaven, has appealed for them to come forward with the incentive of paying their rent in advance as well as paying a rent deposit if they’re willing to support local residents facing homelessness.

Mayor Mike Starkie says it wants to ensure it has every possible resource at its disposal.

“We know this is a time of immense pressure for everyone and may lead to more accommodation being required to house residents who have nowhere else to go,” he says.

“It is absolutely vital that everyone has a safe place to call home, particularly whilst the social distancing measures are in place, and we understand that relationships may break down during the added stresses of the current pandemic, so we’re exploring every possible avenue to keep residents healthy, safe and indoors at this time.”

A council spokeswoman tells LandlordZONE: “The appeal is to gather information on available properties should we require them. We’re looking for properties that are already currently available to let, so there should be no cost to the landlord.”

Barbara Baker, director at sales and lettings agency Homes Cumbria, who runs the local landlord Facebook group, says with the right structure in place to cover landlords it’s a good idea.

“It can benefit the landlord by providing regular income – often guaranteed – and no long voids with council tax to pay. However, on the flip side it sometimes causes issues for us and landlords as the tenants don’t always make the most of the opportunity they’ve been given and are anti-social or damage the house.”

She adds: “It’s never black and white but the hard bit is talking landlords around to the idea.”

Landlords with available properties should contact the council’s housing team at housing.options@copeland.gov.uk or on 01946 598300.

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