Adapting to Tenant-Demand…

Latest Landlord News by: Madalena Penny

Bridging the gap between Social and Private Landlords, Harrow council has established a letting agency to address the lack of available housing within the social sector by teaming up tenants with responsible landlords.

The Help2Let letting agency facilitates landlord Accreditation Training, assists in providing free Energy Performance Certificates and provides landlords with approved tenants.  In return landlords with properties that meet set standards are provided with pre-approved tenants and a two month rent guarantee bond.

The service, provided for by Harrow council was established to find accommodation for tenants who faced a long wait for social housing.  Councillor Bob Currie of Harrow Council said:,  
“Everyone deserves to live in a decent home and this scheme is about finding quality accommodation for some of the least well off in our communities.

“It is a huge challenge meeting the demand for social housing, but with government cuts and a weak housing market, the problem is only going to get worse. We do not want to see our residents forced into sub-standard, unsafe homes.

“That’s why we are teaming up with private landlords to stand up for local people and give them access to quality, affordable homes. We hope it will also drive up standards in the private rented sector across the whole borough.”

Up to the end of 2010 there was thought to be a waiting list of 4.5 million people applying for social sector housing.  With scant resources and a dire need for available housing, council lead initiatives like those of Help2Let could become a common stopgap to help house a growing population and address what has become a national problem.

Sim Sekhon, housing expert and spokesman for the nationwide company ‘Legal 4 Landlords’  said:

“We are sometimes consulted by social sector landlords on tenant issues, particularly rent and tenant vetting practices.  Harrow’s landlord-tenant initiative is the first step to bring together social and private housing to create a solution between the two sectors, offering tenants decent accommodation from the private sector.

“We do suggest that social landlords should initiate a vetting service for tenants, thus protecting private landlords as this would promote a beneficial relationship between the two sectors allowing similar schemes to flourish within other local authorities.  We welcome enquires from social sector landlords to mediate between social and private landlords.”