Housing First - what are your thoughts?

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    Housing First - what are your thoughts?

    Hello,

    I work for a homeless charity and I am hoping you don't mind me bending your ear and gaining some landlord insight on a model we are imminently implementing for some of our service users.

    Traditional housing models within the homeless sector require the service user to 'prove' that they are engaging with a service (be that drug / alcohol / mental health services) prior to work being undertaken to house these individuals. You can find more information here: https://hfe.homeless.org.uk/about-housing-first

    We have recently been granted funding for a model called Housing First. It does what it says on the tin - we address the lack of accommodation need first and then with intensive wraparound support, we help the individual sustain their tenancy and address any other issues they may have in the background. This model has flipped the usual route on its head.

    My role within the charity and as part of the implementation team is to source PRS properties in order to provide a greater amount of choice to the individual.

    In order to approach landlords about this model, I was hoping to gain some insight into:

    How you would feel about being approached to take part,
    What type of questions you would ask if it was your property and,
    The frequency and intensity of the support you feel you would need?

    I have anticipated some questions that may come my way but who better to speak to than an actual landlord who has invested in their properties?

    Thank you in advance!

    LandlordLiaisonOfficer

    #2
    The characteristics of the people you wish to home would be obvious red flags to most PRS landlords.
    I don't think you would be able to persuade me to risk the value of my property when the option to remove a problem tenant is, essentially, unavailable.

    I have only thought about this for a minute or two, but I can't imagine a premium big enough to overcome that concern.

    You're addressing a group of people, many of whom don't allow pets or smokers!
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      What are your arrears, ASB, and eviction rates as a % of all tenancies?

      Comment


        #4
        Much as I have sympathy for your clients and would like to support your work, I like jpkeates, would be unlikely to accept this kind of tenant. There is just too much risk for a private LL.

        I did once rent a property to a similar organisation and the problem was not the tenant but her boyfriend who caused a significant amount of damage. Once bitten, twice shy I'm afraid.

        Comment


          #5
          I wouldn't ask any questions, it would be a straight No. No rent would be high enough for me to risk thousands of pounds worth of damage to the property. I always consider the neighbours too and wouldn't have any tenant who would be likely to upset them. And, as above, it's too difficult to evict a problem tenant. Sorry.

          Comment


            #6
            Yep...... the above comments cover most of what i would say, its just too much of a risk at any price, i work in an '' industry '' whereby i deal with the homeless on a rather too frequent basis and following many visits to hotels/emergency accommodation etc and finding all manner of problems there i could not even consider allowing tenants with their range of issues to live in my immaculate properties, not a chance.

            Comment


              #7
              Straightforward no from here given current legislation. If you can get the legislators to behave then maybe your clients would have an easier time. Maybe your should survey them:

              Question 1: Do you care if the legislation you dream up damages the interests the tenants you claim to wish to protect?

              Comment


                #8
                I think this could only work if the charity is the tenant, and they indemnify the landlord against any and all damages and losses, and on an uncapped basis. And that charity should have more than sufficient funds or an insurance cover with a substantial amount, because there will be frequent and often substantial damages and losses.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by ChrisDennison View Post
                  I think this could only work if the charity is the tenant, and they indemnify the landlord against any and all damages and losses, and on an uncapped basis. And that charity should have more than sufficient funds or an insurance cover with a substantial amount, because there will be frequent and often substantial damages and losses.
                  Exactly. It is called putting your money where your mouth is -- or stop blathering.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by LandlordLiaisonOfficer View Post
                    a model we are imminently implementing
                    If you are imminently implementing it, then isn't it a bit late to be seeking landords' views?

                    Originally posted by LandlordLiaisonOfficer View Post
                    intensive wraparound support,
                    Does that have any inherent meaning, or is it from a buzzword generator?

                    Originally posted by LandlordLiaisonOfficer View Post
                    In order to approach landlords about this model, I was hoping to gain some insight into:

                    How you would feel about being approached to take part,
                    What type of questions you would ask if it was your property and,
                    The frequency and intensity of the support you feel you would need?
                    I think this is the wrong place to be looking for landlords that might be willing to help with your scheme.

                    I have the impression that landlords here let properties that generally are well-presented and marketed to the middle to higher end of the market,

                    There are other landlord forums where some landlords specialise in the lower end of the market, and you might have more success there.

                    However, given recent developments in Universal Credit, difficulty in removing problem tenants, and generally changes that make it easier for bad tenants to game the system, you might find that even they are trying to move up-market. You are likely to end up with intentionally-criminal landlords offering extremely poor properties being the only ones interested.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by ChrisDennison View Post
                      I think this could only work if the charity is the tenant, and they indemnify the landlord against any and all damages and losses, and on an uncapped basis.
                      Agree.

                      Originally posted by LandlordLiaisonOfficer
                      My role within the charity and as part of the implementation team is to source PRS properties
                      Good luck. Sounds like an impossible job to me, unfortunately.
                      There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by doobrey View Post

                        Good luck. Sounds like an impossible job to me, unfortunately.
                        I find it quite bizarre that in their own 'guide for housing first to social landlords' they write the following about the PRS:

                        Homeless Link
                        14
                        Appendix 1. Why social housing works for Housing First
                        There are four main reasons why social housing is, in many cases, more beneficial than Private Rented Sector (PRS) housing in the context of Housing First:
                         Cost
                        There are numerous challenges to sourcing housing from the PRS, particularly in areas of the country where the market rental cost and Local Housing Allowance (LHA) are different. The PRS also requires an individual to provide a deposit and rent in advance, in addition to any fees charged by the agency or landlord; an individual on benefits does not usually have access to this money. For these reasons, other tenants competing
                        for the property may be more desirable. Social housing is affordable, and generally requires less money to be paid in advance, even though more Housing Associations are moving towards a rent in advance model in preparation for Universal credit.
                         Stability
                        The PRS does not offer a great deal of stability to tenants – particularly those with a low income. Rising rents mean that those claiming welfare benefits may be ‘priced out’ of their home once their assured shorthold tenancy expires, and will need to find other accommodation. Although instances of anti-social behaviour and rent arrears are reportedly low in Housing First, if an issue does arise, a private landlord may be less tolerant or flexible than a social housing provider. And in areas where the LHA rate does not meet the market rent, Housing First tenants are forced to move away from their support networks to find suitable accommodation.
                        Social housing offers more stability in tenancy length and location, and more tolerance should problems arise.
                         Quality
                        In some areas of the country, accommodation in the PRS that falls within the LHA rate can be poor quality.
                        Due to the lack of regulatory standards, properties can be extremely small and in dire condition, with
                        maintenance issues going unrepaired for months. Social housing is regulated and usually of a better quality.
                         Flexibility
                        Occasionally, a situation may arise in which a Housing First tenant needs to move from their current home to a new one. This may be due to problems occurring in the area they are living or with neighbours, or where risks mean they need to move to a different location for safeguarding purposes. The volume of properties in a social housing provider’s portfolio can enable these transitions to take place more smoothly, reducing the negative impact on the landlord and the tenant.
                        This paints a pretty poor picture of the PRS and makes me even less inclined and willing to play a part in this.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by ChrisDennison View Post

                          I find it quite bizarre that in their own 'guide for housing first to social landlords' they write the following about the PRS:
                          This paints a pretty poor picture of the PRS and makes me even less inclined and willing to play a part in this.
                          God you sound negative

                          But anyway you are right - social housing in Scotland is infested with rats and fleas. England is no doubt similar or worse. The whole thing you quoted is a load of bilge designed to make a political point and not a truthful one or one in the actual interest of the people they claim to serve (about whom they actually couldn't give a flying stuff).

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by ChrisDennison View Post
                            I think this could only work if the charity is the tenant, and they indemnify the landlord against any and all damages and losses, and on an uncapped basis. And that charity should have more than sufficient funds or an insurance cover with a substantial amount, because there will be frequent and often substantial damages and losses.
                            AIUI, they can come up with flexible solutions of how it is structured.
                            Their funding seems to come from central government/ local authorities.

                            They can pay some of the potential damages, arrears, legal costs etc but it seems limited to about a couple of grand.

                            Nevertheless, it is a difficult and worthy cause.

                            But even Housing Associations (arguably the experts) are very cautious about engaging.
                            And they view the PRS as 'challenging'.



                            There is a niche area of the PRS that could fulfil this role and probably do a lot better job than most social landlords. But it would take incentivised, altruistic, energetic, knowledgeable and very experienced private landlords.

                            But I fear, as always, anything will be targeted at mug punter and rogue landlords rather than competent professional private landlords.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Incidentally;


                              @LandlordLiaisonOfficer,

                              It's now approaching midnight on a Friday evening, is your phone now switched on to deal with;

                              "intensive wraparound tenant service user support"

                              (mine is)

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