Rent-a-room bid in housing plan

Councillor Mike Gilbert
Councillor Mike Gilbert

ASKING people to rent out empty rooms in their properties is one of the solutions the borough council is looking at as part of its draft housing strategy for Boston for 2012-17.

The five-year plan, was discussed at cabinet on Wednesday where portfolio holder for housing, property and communities coun Mike Gilbert said he thought it was a ‘creative, imaginative and quite unique’ strategy.

He said: “Rent-a-room schemes offer a way of tackling not only a housing problem and the silting up of hostel accommodation but loneliness and a declining living 
standard for those with space to rent.”

He said the borough had to accept the demographics of an ageing population which will include more single people and fewer married couples and will change the demand for housing from the typical two or three bedroom semi.

He added: “It would be very easy to have a housing strategy which simply concentrated on new-build properties, however to meet the needs of all those with housing needs we would have to concrete over large areas of countryside.”

The plan also includes actions looking at issues such as licensing houses of multiple occupancy and their landlords for quality control.

It also talks about using government funding to build new houses and bringing empty ones back in to use, including using funds to mitigate the extra costs of flood risk adaptations.

Coun Gilbert said: “There are other initiatives all aimed at providing a range of housing solutions to meet the complex needs of Boston people now and in the immediate future.”

The strategy went to public consultation in April and May of this year and will go to full council on Monday.