Social Lettings Agencies Homelessness Prevention and Role of the Private Rented Sector

As the Conservative Lib Dem coalition starts to wield the knife on what they see as wasted activity in some parts of the public sector we start to wonder how their cuts will eventually affect housing.

One area that we at LettingFocus.com provide advisory help on for local cheap sildenafil tablets authorities and housing associations is in the setting up of what are variously called “social letting agencies”, “private rented sector access schemes” and “local letting agency models.”

Public Sector Can Do a Much Better Job

We think that many local authorities could do a much better job in these areas.

In recent months I have attended quite a few housing meetings at local authorities, housing associations and housing charities where the topic of housing is addressed “in the big picture.”

The people working for the taxpayer in the housing field often have some great ideas and in some councils there is a decent level of awareness and appreciation of the role the private rented sector (PRS) could play in meeting housing needs and reducing homelessness and housing waiting lists.

However, the schemes that have been designed to tap into what landlords have to offer and / or the implementation of schemes, whilst well meaning, often miss the target.

We also think the targets set for moving social housing tenants onto the private rented sector are often lacking in ambition.

More could be done easing the pressure elsewhere on housing!

And that’s too bad because the Rugg Review of the private rented sector (and the government’s acceptance of the review) recommended that local authorities and other housing providers make much better use of the PRS.

From our work, we have identified a number of ways in which private rented access schemes could be made to work better.

Two of the key ways involve housing practioners making improvements in how they market to landlords.

Landlord Motivations

Key to success is for housing folk in the town halls to understand the motivations of private landlords – what they want from tenants and what help and support they are seeking from housing departments in the town halls and the housing associations to help them find the right tenants.

Local Housing Allowance

Letting to tenants who are in receipt of benefits like Local Housing Allowance is something that scares many landlords – and yet, the housing benefits system, if delivered right, does not involve a high risk to the landlord at all.

Indeed, it can be less risky (and more profitable due to less void periods and even sometimes higher rents) than letting privately.

Getting the message across to more landlords that low income-ex-local-authority-housed tenants are not high risk is one area that we think could be substantially improved.

Another area that we think is weak is the marketing channels that the local authorities and housing associations use to approach landlords.

In many boroughs quite a lot of effort and cost is put into local approaches to attract landlords (and often there can be a duplicity of effort allowing private landlords to play one provider off against another .)

We think that if the message is right and the support from the local authority is there, cash incentives for landlords should not even be required at all except possibly for special categories of hard to house tenants. (A lot of money could be saved here.)

We also think that much more could be done if only the local authorities understood how to use internet based channels to raise awareness among landlords of the benefits to the landlord of joining up to and putting their properties on a private rented sector access schemes.

MORE ABOUT LETTINGFOCUS AND WHAT WE DO

LettingFocus.com is the home of Landlord Information.

I’m David Lawrenson, a landlord and property investor myself for over 25 years and author of “Successful Property Letting” – the UK’s top selling commercially published property book for the last 3 years.

Services to Businesses and the Public Sector

Primarily I am a consultant to banks, local authorities, social housing providers, insurers and other organisations – helping them with their landlord facing or buy to let product strategies and services.

For example, I help banks improve their buy to let mortgage lending practices and I help housing association / local authorities find private landlords (private rented access schemes, local letting agency models etc.)
I also write for property websites and am regularly quoted by the media.

Services for Private Landlords

We also find some spare time to help landlords and property investors by coaching them in how to make money in the private rented sector using ways that work, which are ethical, fair to tenants and which involve minimal risk to the investor.
We pride ourselves on giving independent unbiased Buy to Let Advice on a one-to-one mentoring / coaching basis or through our occasional group seminars.

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