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Council homes could be offered to tenants complete with furniture in a new council scheme in North Somerset. ...
Council homes could be offered to tenants complete with furniture in a new council scheme in North Somerset.

The scheme would be targeted at those in desperate need of council accommodation who could not afford to furnish the property themselves such as victims of domestic abuse or young people leaving the family home as a result of a relationship breakdown.

North Somerset Council would buy or lease the main items of furniture such as beds, tables, wardrobes, chairs and carpets for a limited number of council properties - all furniture would comply with Health and Safety regulations.

The council would recoup the cost of the furniture either via a service charge, paid through housing benefit or an addition to the weekly rent for those who work, or by leasing the furniture to the tenant.

The scheme would not be automatically available to all new tenants but would be at the discretion of Area Housing Managers to target those in particular need.

Similar initiatives are already being successfully run by other councils such as Newcastle, Derby and Salford City Councils as well as a number of housing associations.

Ian Harries, North Somerset Council's assistant director of housing & social services, said: 'This scheme could help a number of residents who through various circumstances have no furniture or no means to acquire any. It would also benefit the council by filling difficult to let properties thus reducing lost rent.'

The idea will be discussed by councillors at the housing services committee meeting on April 28. Officers are recommending that a feasibility study is made into the viability of the scheme.

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