A new initiative has been launched to match landlords with tenants. More specifically, to “match people facing homelessness with private landlords looking for long-term tenants”.
The scheme is called Property Links and has been launched by Eden district council in the Lake District where a call has been made for private landlords to register with the programme completely free of charge.
Eden council claims that the benefits of Property Links are plentiful for both tenants and landlords, the latter benefitting from income assessments for potential tenants, a Housing Health & Safety assessment, a comprehensive inventory, and so-called ‘administrative support”.
Once signed up, the council will work to match properties with local tenants who are currently in danger of being made homeless. As it stands, people in this position rely on social/council housing to provide a roof over their head, but there is a severe shortage of such homes in the UK and the process of getting tenants into them isn’t always appropriate to each individual case.
Eden district council’s private rented accommodation officer, Richard Liddle, says:
“Unlike many letting schemes, we don’t believe in a one size fits all approach. We tailor our support for each tenant, based upon their needs, throughout the whole of the tenancy.”
The aim is for Property Links to match tenants with long-term rented homes based on their specific needs – be they geographical, medical, or otherwise.
While the scheme is currently limited to Eden district council, it might be that this is a pilot scheme that, if successful, could be replicated by local authorities throughout the UK.
Is Property Links a throwback to the 80s?
The reaction from landlords has been mixed, with some concerned that it means they’ll be burdened with tenants who are already in rent arrears while others believe it’s a sensible way of relieving the increasing pressure being put on local councils to provide quality shelter for a growing number of vulnerable people.
Those landlords who are concerned may be won over by the fact that they are under no obligation to accept a suggested tenant, and also by the fact that similar schemes were commonplace in the 1980s. These schemes saw councils taking long leases on privately rented homes, paying the landlords guaranteed rent every month and then subletting the homes at affordable rates to people in need.
The success of Property Links depends entirely on how well it is adopted by landlords. Time will tell whether similar programmes will be launched elsewhere.