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Friday, 19 September 2014

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Fears aired over soaring demand in rented homes in Barrow

CONCERNS have been raised after a surge in the number of private rented homes in Barrow was revealed

The figure has rocketed to 4,000 from around 2,000 in 2001. A meeting of Barrow Borough Council’s executive committee was also told successive stock condition surveys have shown the condition of the private rented sector is poorer than the average home in the borough.

The committee discussed the issue as part of a nationwide consultation into the level of regulation of the private sector that local government should provide.

Phil Huck, the council’s executive director, told the meeting: “The private rented sector is about 4,000 properties. That’s a rounded factor, but it has risen from about half of that. It has doubled since 2001. It is a significant number of properties in the area and all the indications are that it’s going to increase.”

David Sharpe, Ross Estate Agencies managing director, believes the main reason for the increase has been the large number of contractors coming into the borough

He told the Evening Mail: “If they were coming for a year or two, they were looking for rented accommodation. With the terraced houses in particular, people started buying to let out because they were cheap to buy and the return was good.

“In the last few years, you have needed 10 and 15 per cent deposits and a lot of people rented because they could not afford to buy. Although the facility to buy has become a lot easier now, the demand from contract workers has increased so there’s still a high demand for rental property.”

Mr Sharpe added that the standard of the private sector had generally improved during the course of his long career and said good-quality homes generally attracted good quality tenants.

In the public sector, the council owns around 2,700 homes. There are also 205 leasehold flats.

Councillor Brendan Sweeney told the meeting the government paper on the condition of the private sector did not do enough for tenants in Barrow and nationally.

He added: “I think everything we can do on this is important.

“We have 4,000 households living in rented private sector accommodation, where we know it’s nothing like the quality we are able to provide from within the public sector.”

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