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NFDC's Call Before You Serve seeks to cut evictions and drive down homelessness in the New Forest

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NEW Forest District Council has launched a service supporting landlords and tenants in an effort to drive down evictions and homelessness.

The Call Before You Serve programme is a free specialist service offering advice to landlords who are considering serving their tenants with a notice of eviction.

Every year, almost 2,000 people seek homelessness support from NFDC, and of these more than a third have had to leave private-rented accommodation.

Cllr Jill Cleary
Cllr Jill Cleary

Cllr Jill Cleary, NFDC cabinet member for housing, said: “We urge people to seek help as soon as possible, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, so we can help keep people in their homes, support landlords in securing reliable tenancies, and mediate between parties to resolve any tenancy issues.

“By working with landlords and tenants earlier in the process, we hope to prevent tenancies breaking down, and the distress and costs resulting from this. The service provides advice when rent is not paid and offers referrals to specialist services when the need for long-term support is identified.

“In introducing this new service we hope to follow the success of other councils in the country with similar initiatives."

The programme also offers a financial assessment to help tenants maximise their income, and a personalised housing plan which will be agreed by the tenant in conjunction with the landlord.

Landlords will also be able to contact the service for help and advice on leasing their properties through the council.

NFDC is due to hold its first landlord forum event on Thursday 18th November at Balmer Lawn Hotel in Brockenhurst, talking through the latest government legislation affecting private rentals.

There will be advice on how to find support with specific issues affecting properties such as damp and mould, and discussion over how access to private accommodation can be increased.

Cllr Cleary said: “We really hope private sector landlords can come along to this forum to have their say on the latest issues and changes affecting the private sector, and hear how we may be able to help them.

“We want to strengthen the work we do with landlords to provide the best quality housing for residents. And, if successful, we hope to hold the event every few months.”

Those wishing to attend the forum, which will take place between 9.30am and midday, must register by emailing their name, address and telephone number to privatesectorhousing@nfdc.gov.uk

To contact the Call Before You Serve service, call 023 8028 5222, email CB4YS@nfdc.gov.uk or visit www.newforest.gov.uk/Callbeforeyouserve

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