MORE than 100 private landlords attended a conference aiming to reduce the number of empty homes in County Durham.

The seminar, the first of its kind organised by Durham County Council, also included sessions on Universal Credit, tenancy deposit schemes and updates in legislation.

Landlords were also given information about the council’s Private Landlord Accreditation Scheme, designed to support their business and bring empty homes back into use.

Cllr Kevin Shaw, Cabinet member for housing, said: “Since April 2017, almost 800 landlords and owners have received support from the council’s private sector initiatives team and with the significant recent changes to legislation, including the roll-out of Universal Credit, we are in unprecedented times.

“We will continue to tackle these issues and will work hard to increase the supply of affordable accommodation across the county.”

Landlords who sign up to the scheme can advertise their properties on the Durham Key Options website, which has seen 96 properties let since April.

Over the same period, the team has helped bring 120 empty properties back into use.