Exeter City Council to explore setting up housing company to help fill £3.7million shortfall

Exeter City Council will explore setting a housing company to boost its coffers by offering private market rented accommodation to the public.

It is hoped the project could help people find ‘decent’ places to live and also bridge a £3.7million medium-term financial hole in the authority’s finances.

Dwellings would be bought from Exeter City Living or the private sector and then be rented out.

The council’s executive unanimously backed a proposal to spend £300,000 on developing three business cases to explore the feasibility of creating new subsidiaries.

These would be a company providing market rent properties, a consultancy company, and a company to provide retro-fit solutions for existing housing.

Chief finance officer Dave Hodgson holds the meeting: “The council is facing reductions of £3.7million over the period of its medium-term financial plan.

“One of the options to close the gap is to generate further income from the council’s wholly-owned company, Exeter City Group.

“The key risk is that the business cases do not result in viable companies and the council therefore needs to identify alternative solutions to reduce the £3.7million gap.

“Without undertaking the work, however, the council will not be able to assess whether this is a viable solution.”

The consultancy company would provide support to organisations looking to deliver energy-efficient Passivhaus or similar developments.

The third company would deliver retrofit solutions to existing properties in pursuit of carbon neutral homes.

Council leader Phil Bialyk said: “This is intended to breathe life into the housing company where we can provide private rented accommodation.

“There is a big gap of people who want decent private rented houses who are happy to rent. This could be a great idea.”

The matter will now go to full council.

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