Shropshire Council is the latest local authority looking to launch directly into the private rental sector, saying it aims to ‘set an example to local landlords’.

Cornovii Developments Limited (CDL) aims to build and sell about 2,000 homes to address housing needs while generating income for the local authority.

Work starts on its first development – Frith Close (pictured) in Crowmoor – next month, where homes will sell from £180,000.

CDL is now looking to hire a property consultancy to advise it on market opportunities for the private rented sector and will soon draw up an 18-month marketing plan, including a social media launch strategy.

Jane Trethewey (pictured), Shropshire Council’s assistant director of homes and communities, tells LandlordZONE: “We think it could play a key role in maintaining high standards in the county’s rental offer, and ensure there is a range of good quality and well managed property types for those who want to rent by preference.

“The intention is to support typically younger, economically active households who want to maintain their mobility in the jobs market in Shropshire, as well as those for whom renting is a more affordable option than purchasing a home directly.”

She adds: “It’s quite an exciting opportunity for us to be able to set a challenge to other private sector landlords out there as to how to do this extremely well.”

Not convinced

But Gavin Dick (pictured), the National Residential Landlord Association’s local authority policy officer, is not convinced.

He tells LandlordZONE: “It’s a case of thinking they know best and saying they’ll bring up standards, but they will just chase the money rather than house those who are struggling.

“The result will be that they’ll show just how efficient private landlords are at giving value for money and the council will have to up its game to compete with them. If they think it’s easy, they’re in for a surprise.”

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