Mansfield District Council is supporting a new service to help cut the number of evictions served on tenants by private landlords.
Call B4 You Serve is a new free advice service for landlords and provided by the landlords' organisation, DASH Services, on behalf of 18 housing authorities across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, including Mansfield.
The specialist service aims to support landlords considering the potentially costly route of seeking possession in cases where a tenant has rent arrears, for instance, or is in some other dispute with their landlord.
Many councils, including Mansfield, have strengthened their homelessness prevention strategies and recognise that, in line with new homelessness reduction legislation, early intervention is key to cutting the number of people who are left without a home due to eviction.
The aim of the DASH scheme is to offer private landlords:
• A personalised housing plan agreed with the tenant.
• Rent arrears assistance through housing benefit services, Universal Credit, local government homeless prevention funds and charities.
• A financial assessment of tenants to maximise income.
• Referrals and signposting to specialist services for more long-term support should the need be identified.
• A mediation service between landlords, tenants and local authorities.
• Help and advice on leasing properties to a range of supported housing providers.
Cllr Marion Bradshaw, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Mansfield District Council, said: "Often tenants in private rented homes are evicted because they have fallen into arrears or there is some kind of ongoing dispute with their landlord.
"Like most councils, Mansfield is keen to reduce the number of homeless people by helping private landlords in cases where the tenant is in danger of losing their home.
"Eviction is a costly process for the tenant, the landlord and also the council, at the end of the day, so anything we can do to mitigate the risk of someone losing the roof over their head has to make good sense.
"We urge landlords to make use of Call B4 You Serve at the earliest opportunity where things are starting to go wrong. It's free so they have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain."
Helen Scott, Call B4 You Serve Officer for DASH, said: "This is a long awaited service which is just for landlords and letting agents.
"It has been identified that there are a lot of services that a tenant can access for advice and assistance, should they have tenancy issues, but nowhere for landlords or letting agents.
"As we are increasingly asking private landlords to assist with our growing housing problem, should we not offer a specialist service if things go wrong, in which landlords can also be offered advice and support to resolve those issues?"
For more information about the scheme, contact Mark Skelton, on 01332 642368 or email Mark.Skelton@derby.gov.uk.