First stop Westhill for new mid-market rented homes

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Councillors agreed to proceed with plans to provide mid-market rented housing for people in Aberdeenshire at a meeting on January 15.

The initiative will provide homes to households on modest incomes who are likely to struggle to afford private renting at current market rents but who are also unlikely to be able to access social housing.

It will be achieved by establishing Liability Limited Partnership (LLP) between Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT).

Rent levels are expected to be in the region of 100% of the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) depending on the location of the property. The current LHA for Aberdeenshire is £156 per week for a 2 bed property.

Phase one of the programme will see 160 units provided over the next three years with the first of them anticipated to be available in Westhill from Summer this year.

People will be able to apply for one of the properties through the Aberdeenshire Council website shortly.

Chair of Policy and Resources Committee Cllr Jim Gifford said: “Council officers have worked with the Scottish Futures Trust to establish an affordable housing investment programme. After months of careful planning we can finally progress to provide much needed housing for people in Aberdeenshire.

“It will deliver up to 160 much needed Mid-Market Rental homes by 2017/18. In addition to meeting unmet housing need across Aberdeenshire, the programme would help to stimulate economic development and contribute to wider regeneration objectives.”

Vice Chair of Policy and Resources Committee Cllr Martin Kitts-Hayes said: “Faced with the requirement for new affordable housing to meet ongoing needs, the Council has been seeking to identify new innovative ways to increase the provision of housing supply.

“The development of mid-market rented housing will assist in ensuring adequate, affordable and attractive housing options for the pressured housing market. It should also assist in ensuring homes for future employees to the area which is critical for future economic development of Aberdeenshire. These proposals could result in a step change in housing supply, to the benefit of all stakeholders.”