The rules and processes around Local Housing Allowance are intricate, complicated, variable (depending on the local authority) and constantly changing. Here we look at exactly what LHA is, who is eligible for it, how it is changing and most importantly what it actually means for a landlord to have a tenant in receipt of it.
Amy Varle is a Fellow of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, a social entrepreneur, and the founder of Social Property Investment; an affordable housing strategy with the aim of reducing homelessness in Britain.
For well over a decade Amy has worked in affordable housing and social housing with the public, private and third sectors.
Now, her role is primarily as a facilitator, helping landlords and property investors connect with local authorities, with charities, with not for profit organisations, housing associations, voluntary groups, street teams and food banks.
This is all with the aim of making it easier and more profitable for property investors to house vulnerable tenants such as those who are homeless, in hostels, sleeping on friends’ couches or living on the streets.
Ultimately, her experience illustrates that landlords and investors with a property portfolio shouldn’t be nervous about extending an arm to tenants in difficulty.
Although the system is complex, there is a large support network for landlords who are inclined to lend their property to a social property project.
But it isn’t all about charity, by any means. Amy’s role is to guarantee, as best she can, that all risks, inherent in such projects, are mitigated by good planning and shared responsibility by all involved parties.
She not only plans to make sure that the tenant is fully supported with regard to their particular needs and the long-term success of their tenancy but also works to protect the landlord’s assets and their income.
With the right planning and the involvement of the right people and organisations, a social property can be very profitable and pain-free.
We all know that there is a housing crisis, that homelessness is spiking; that there is a desperate need for new-build housing.
In response to these circumstances, local authorities, charities and housing associations are becoming a lot more flexible in their thinking and there are many new policies and initiatives (such as the Housing First strategy) which are coming into play.
Amy is trying to create an environment where the private sector, where private landlords, have a much greater role in solving the social and infrastructure problems that the UK is facing today.
Of course, she wants to make it easier for vulnerable tenants to find rented homes but not at the expense of the investor’s bottom line.
She recognises that in order for any project to work it must be beneficial for everyone and that means it must be lucrative for those that are putting their money into it.
Most property investors are acutely aware of the housing crisis which Britain is currently facing and many, working in the private property marketplace, are exploring new ways of increasing accommodation supply for those who are most in need. Today, we look at what social value is and how it can be created within social and affordable property projects.
Twitter is sometimes undervalued by property professionals and yet it remains the best social media platform for communicating directly with leaders, influencers, and potential customers without censorship, membership or a subscription fee. The property business, especially, is first and foremost about people and Twitter is still the best way of connecting with people on the web.
The effects of the Homelessness Reduction Bill are going to hit in 2018, so property investors and professional landlords need to be ready if they want to take full advantage of the changes that are coming to the social property market and provide the housing stock that is going to be so desperately needed.
What exactly does Universal Credit mean for landlords with social tenants? On the one hand, Universal Credit encourages claimants to be more responsible with their money. But, on the other, it offers them the opportunity to spend that money on things other than their bills. As a landlord, you have a responsibility to support your tenants in their tenancy and this means putting processes in place to ensure that rent is paid and that your tenant doesn’t fall into debt.
If you are thinking of investing in a multi-let social property then it’s of paramount importance to know how to go about selecting the perfect social tenant. With this tenant profile, the normal rules of credit checks and references might not apply and the need for a thorough risk assessment is greater than it is with a working tenant on an AST but there are still some very straightforward steps you can take to ensure the success of your project.
The success of any property investment lies in the investor’s ability to determine the best place to invest. Social property is no different, although, given the desperate need for affordable housing in the UK, areas, where there is a demand for social property, are not hard to find. But, demand isn’t everything. What’s most important, is that figures stack up.
Today I’m going to talk to you about the highs and lows of working in social property investment. The highs are when it goes right – and everyone involved sees their life dramatically improved and the lows are when it goes wrong, normally when the wrong tenant is placed in the wrong property.
Today we look at how property investment projects can be enhanced by collaborative working with the third sector. By the third sector, we mean housing associations, charities, non-profit organisations and voluntary groups like street teams and even food banks. Engaging with the third sector can really put a sparkle on your property projects, making them both more profitable and easier to run.
With homelessness levels soaring across the UK, the need for an increased affordable housing supply is reaching crisis point. More and more investors are exploring innovative ways of working with the public and third sectors in order to meet the demand for rental supply – but how do you protect your risk when operating within the ‘social’ marketplace?