A Hertfordshire-based housing association has called on landlords to help tackle homelessness in the area through its new social lettings scheme.
The Hemel Hempstead-based Hightown Housing Association, based in the Dacorum Borough Council area, is launching its own social letting agency to help combat the increasing problem of homelessness in the district.
Landlords Urged to Help Tackle Homelessness
Hightown Lettings will offer private landlords a three to five-year lease for their properties, which they will let to families who are homeless or facing homelessness.
Under the terms of the new scheme, landlords will be guaranteed a monthly rent, whether their property is occupied or not, while Hightown Lettings will also manage the properties.
Landlords will also benefit from quarterly inspections, a £300 contribution towards minor repairs each year, and the ability to fund more expensive repairs/renewals by taking the cost out of their monthly payment.
Hightown will also return the property at the end of the lease in the same condition as the start, aside from fair wear and tear.
All properties leased under 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 scheme will help to reduce homelessness in the area, as the number of applications in the Dacorum Borough have risen by a huge 70% between 2014-15 to 131 in the last quarter.
The Chief Executive of Hightown, David Bogle, says: “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.”
The housing association also reminds landlords that they will save on letting agent fees by leasing through the scheme, but they must be aware that the rental income they earn will usually be controlled by the amount of housing benefit that the tenant receives, which is typically 80% of the average local market rent.
The Lettings Manager of Hightown, Brian Finn, adds: “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.”
The call from Hightown Lettings arrives as a new report highlights the chronic housing crisis in the UK. Shelter recently found that three million working families in England are at risk of losing their homes due to sky-high housing costs: https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/news/3m-working-families-one-pay-cheque-away-losing-home/
Could you join the new scheme?