Project to reduce the reluctance to rent to tenants on benefits

Project to reduce the reluctance to rent to tenants on benefits

12:00 PM, 14th February 2020, About 4 years ago 25

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Shelter Press Release:

Thousands of vulnerable private renters across Greater Manchester were boosted today as the £600,000 test and learn fund for Fair Housing Futures was announced.

The partnership project, hosted by the housing charity Shelter and funded by the Nationwide Foundation, aims to transform the way the private rented sector works for vulnerable* and low-income tenants across the region. Radical new schemes powered by the fund will help people overcome barriers to finding and keeping a private rented home.

Last year, the scheme called for bids from local organisations to improve private renting, and proposals flooded in. Five successful bids have now been announced, plus innovative plans for two new umbrella projects covering local authorities and landlords.

Shelter’s Roli Barker, project manager for Fair Housing Futures, said: “Every day our Shelter front-line services hear from people in life-changing trouble, as a total lack of social housing pushes more and more people into unstable private rentals. Private rented homes can be hard to secure and impossible to afford. The insecurity and threat of eviction can be hugely disruptive for people, especially families with children or vulnerable people.

“This funding from the Nationwide Foundation is an incredible opportunity to create a network of local projects that gets right to the heart of the issues that can hurt vulnerable private renters every day. We want to leave a legacy of practical solutions, that make access to housing not only easier, but fairer.

The Fair Housing Futures project has already mapped out how sky-high rents and poor conditions across Greater Manchester leave many vulnerable renters struggling to survive in what Shelter describes as a “broken” private rented system.

This research** has helped the project to allocate funding to organisations in Greater Manchester for the next two years, as they work to test and develop successful ideas that could be rolled out further, both locally and nationally.

In addition to the five main projects, Fair Housing Futures is also exploring how they can support landlords with a collaborative approach to the ideas they submitted.

And part of the funding will create an umbrella network for local authorities, as ideas are explored city-wide in a bid for the systemic impact the project demands.

Bridget Young, Programme Manager at the Nationwide Foundation, said: “Fair Housing Futures is a collaborative project, using a local partnership approach to giving funding and support to projects that have ideas to improve life for renters. At the Nationwide Foundation, we have a long-term commitment to making sure everyone has a decent home that they can afford, and we’re thrilled that a part of this work is an attempt to transform the private rented sector in Greater Manchester.

“We look forward to learning from the test and learn fund projects and working with Fair Housing Futures to change things for the better in Greater Manchester and then share that learning further afield.”

Andrew Beeput, Chief Officer at The Bond Board, explained: “The aim of our project is to reduce the reluctance to rent to tenants on benefits that some landlords still have, so that more people can access housing in a system that works better for tenants, letting agents and landlords.

“Housing benefit changes have left many private landlords feeling isolated and confused, often becoming more reluctant to rent to low-income families, who continue to struggle in desperate housing need.

“The role of our new Navigators will help support and train landlords and letting agents to develop their skills and knowledge, so we can increase opportunity for both landlords and tenants.

“And our targeted outreach work will help more tenants on low incomes to find and keep a home and to build better relationships with their landlords. Through the Nationwide Foundation funding we believe we can bring together all the players in the private rented sector, to leave a legacy of a better, fairer system.”

* The project’s working definition of vulnerability is based on the 2018 report Vulnerability amongst Low-Income Households in the Private Rented Sector in England, David Rhodes and Julie Rugg (University of York), which defined those vulnerable in the PRS as households at greater risk of harm for reasons that include, and in some instances combine, economic status and income, age, health and household demographic characteristics. The report considers households to be vulnerable in the PRS if they fall into one of the six vulnerable categories (people with dependent children, long-term illness or disability, the older aged, those in receipt of means-tested and non-means-tested benefits, and recent migrants) and experience at least one of the three measurable harms: not meeting the bedroom standard (i.e. overcrowding), property standards (the quality of properties and the lack of options for lower income households) and After Housing Costs (AHC) poverty (the biggest problem for vulnerable households).

** A comprehensive and evidenced independent review of the issues in Greater Manchester’s private rented sector available here, from the Fair Housing Futures website.

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terry sullivan

12:47 PM, 14th February 2020, About 4 years ago

give me £600000 and i will rent to social tenants--i will use the money to buy hmo

shelter could do that multiple times every year

Dr Rosalind Beck

12:55 PM, 14th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Firstly, I invite them to read and respond to:


12:59 PM, 14th February 2020, About 4 years ago

If I read: "....hosted by the housing charity Shelter...funded by the Nationwide Foundation, aims to transform the way the private rented sector works for vulnerable* and low-income tenants across the region...radical new schemes....will help people overcome barriers to finding and keeping a private rented home."

Then I would assume:
- Shelter isn't paying for anything: They've got funding from the Nationwide Foundation on top of the funding they receive from elsewhere
- They intend their schemes to be radically new
- They are targeting the private rented sector
- They are trying to house vulnerable tenants and low income families but it does not say that the funding will be used to fund their rental payments

So given that vulnerable tenants [drugs?] have a higher risk of defaulting and low income families can't pay then it would be easy to assume that the funding from the Nationwide Foundation will be used to fund an asset-grab of some kind.

If they are getting funding from the Nationwide Foundation rather than trying to transform the private rental sector, maybe they should just pay to house people as some of the other housing charities do.

Michael Johnson - Amzac Estates

14:49 PM, 14th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Shelter and The Nationwide Foundation should offer Private Landlords a guarantor agreement that they will cover all damages to the property and all rent arrears. As a company we would be more than happy to let to tenants with this security in place. Although after some research into both organisations neither one has ever actually housed anybody so truthfully how can they have any valid opinions on housing matters.
Its similar to asking someone who has never driven a car or used public transport to advise the transport minister on future policy on transportation.
If it wasn't real life it would be comedy.


15:35 PM, 14th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by at 14/02/2020 - 14:49
I would be happy for Shelter and the Nationwide Foundation to use the assets they have accumulated to guarantee my tenants' rent and pay for damage caused by the tenant.

If as the guarantor Shelter had to pay for damage caused by the tenant then much like an insurance company Shelter would have an incentive to encourage tenants to look after my property and avoid damaging it. That would then give them the experience they need to have an opinion on the private rental sector that was worth taking note of.

It would also give them an incentive to get rid of their worst tenants; because if they didn't get rid of their worst tenants (the ones damaging the property, addicted to drugs, or causing a nuisance to the neighbours), their worst tenants would be being subsidised by the good tenants who didn't cause a problem: The good tenants that we're all happy to consider a long-term let to.


16:25 PM, 14th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by JJ at 14/02/2020 - 15:35First class joined up thinking!
Can we get RNLA to lobby government?


16:48 PM, 14th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by PJB at 14/02/2020 - 16:25
I don't know. Hopefully government will already have been sent the message that punishing good private landlords will do nothing to sort out problems in the private rented sector: All that it will do is cause landlords to exit the sector. The properties they divest will not be purchased by vulnerable tenants and low-income families for very obvious reasons.

I think government should be encouraged to reconsider which parts of the Housing Charities Market it should give resources to. By looking at the number of tenants that Charities house for example. If Shelter don't want the job of guaranteeing deposits and educating tenants to be good long-term tenants then the government should invest tax-payers' money somewhere else other than Shelter.

Allan Thornton

16:52 PM, 14th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Have to remember that Shelter see their task as staying close to centres of power. They only use the tenant as the vehicle to increase that power and influence. This means that they have a political say in landlords activity with landlords having little or no right to reply. They identify new problems all the time, identifying landlords as the cause of the problem while ignoring their own words "landlords feel isolated and confused". A case for vulnerable landlords perhaps needing a rich foundation to wrest some power back from the Marxist influences in Shelter? Funny how they always seem to be one step ahead of the game in "new" politically caused problems. If the government and these anonymous foundations worked honestly with landlords and their representatives the problems would go away quickly. Uncertainty in the PRS concerning benefit payments is a major factor. Landlords do not need more "training" (as in getting them to do what these organisations will). They need tenants they can rely on to look after property, live reasonably quietly and pay rent


16:58 PM, 14th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Allan Thornton at 14/02/2020 - 16:52All the more reason for suggesting that government shouldn't be investing tax-payers money in Shelter; it doesn't house anybody.
It might help to house people if it guaranteed deposits.
It might help to house people if it taught tenants how to be good tenants so landlords would want to keep them.
It might help to house tenants if it paid their rent. Even by negotiating favourable rents with larger landlords in return for providing guarantees to them. Some kind of quid-pro-quo win-win for both tenants and landlords or landlords and councils.
But if it doesn't do any of those things then it's not going to do anything to house people and it's not a good place to be investing tax-payers' money. Tax-payers money should be invested somewhere else.

Sam Addison

17:25 PM, 14th February 2020, About 4 years ago

'Navigators will help support and train landlords and letting agents ' - how about trying to train tenants?

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