Explains the scheme and what it means for tenants and property owners.
What is Leasing Scheme Wales (LSW)?
The scheme aims to increase access to, and the affordability of, renting privately in Wales. Delivering security for tenants and confidence for landlords.
15 local authorities have signed up to the Welsh Government backed scheme which offers incentives for property owners who lease their properties to the local authority. Tenants housed under the scheme will have longer term, secure and affordable accommodation as well as access to a high-level of support to help maintain their tenancy.
The Scheme is intended to benefit tenants, property owners and local authorities.
The scheme will:
- Improve Access to homes in the private rented sector (PRS)
Access to affordable and good quality homes in the PRS will be improved for those people who are at risk of homelessness and are in receipt of benefits, including universal credit.
- Provide longer term security of accommodation
Tenants will be able to access longer term, settled accommodation for up to twenty years.
- Offer Affordability
Rents are restricted to local housing allowance levels to ensure affordability to tenants on low incomes and/or benefits.
- Provide Support
Regular support and training to help tenants maintain their tenancy, during the scheme and in the future will be provided. This may include support to help tenants manage their money and to live successfully and independently in settled accommodation.
- Improve Standards
Homes available through the scheme will need to meet a specific standard. Financial assistance will be provided to enable local authorities to bring homes up to standard.
- Contribute to Reducing Homelessness
Additional properties will be available to help reduce and relieve homelessness.
The offer for tenants
Tenants who live in these properties will benefit from;
- Access to settled accommodation in the private rented sector, at local housing allowance rates.
- Tenancy support similar to that provided by social housing landlords.
The offer for property owners who lease their property to the local authority
Property owners will benefit from;
- Leases of between 5-20 years.
- Guaranteed rental payments for the length of the lease at the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate.
- Where necessary, an offer of up to £5000, as a grant, to bring properties up to an agreed standard and/or to increase the EPC rating to level C. This funding could be extended to a maximum of £25,000 for empty properties.
- A grant to improve the thermal efficiency of properties has also been introduced. This funding is expected to be available until the end of March 2025, however it is indicative and therefore cannot be guaranteed.
- Repairs of any damage to the property made by tenants covered, subject to reasonable wear and tear, and the landlord’s liability for structural defects. This would form a term of the lease.
- A guarantee of appropriate support for tenants, throughout the lifetime of the lease.
Standard of property
The minimum standard of properties accepted onto the pathfinder will be linked to Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS)standards and there will be a grant available to ensure that any property participating in the scheme meets the agreed standard.
The local authority will be responsible for maintenance of the property for the duration of the lease.