A Hertfordshire-based housing association is looking for landlords to join a newly launched social letting scheme to help tackle the increasing problem of homelessness.
Hemel Hempstead-based Hightown Housing Association in the Dacorum area is launching its own social letting agency, which will offer private landlords in the area a 3-5 year lease for their properties, which it will let to families who are homeless or potentially homeless.
Under the terms of the scheme, landlords will be guaranteed a monthly rent, whether their property is occupied or not, while Hightown will also manage each property.
Other benefits for landlords include quarterly inspections, a £300 contribution per year towards minor repairs and the ability to fund more expensive repairs/renewals by taking the cost from their monthly payment.
Hightown also guarantees to return the property at the end of the lease in the same condition as the start, apart from fair wear and tear.
All homes leased as part of Hightown Lettings will be let and managed on Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs), with a break clause for either party to end the agreement within three months.
The housing association hopes that the initiative will help reduce homelessness in the area, with the number of applications for homelessness in Dacorum Borough increasing by 70% between 2014-15 to 131 in the last quarter.
David Bogle, Hightown’s chief executive, commented: “The number of people being made homeless is increasing nationally, with 68,560 households living in temporary accommodation at the last count. Locally the overall trend is not improving, and we’ve been looking for new ways to assist local authorities with the problem.
“We hope this scheme will assist the local community and help us fulfil our aims of providing homes for those in need. For local landlords, they’ll have the benefit of long term ‘no hassle’ letting with the rent and welfare of the property guaranteed.”
Landlords entering the scheme will save on letting agent fees, as there will be none to pay, but they must be aware that the rate of rent they receive will usually be controlled by the amount of housing benefit that the tenant receives, which generally works out at around 80% of local market rent.
Brian Finn, Hightown’s letting manager, explained: “By guaranteeing the rent every month and not charging fees, the landlord’s income under Hightown Lettings will be very similar to the income received by going through a High Street letting agent.”