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.
Social Property With Amy Varle
- Part 1: Rob Introduces Amy Varle From Social Property Investment
- Part 2: What Is The Difference Between Affordable Housing and Social Housing?
- Part 3: What Is The ‘Housing First’ Homelessness Strategy?
- Part 4: A Landlord’s Guide To Tenant Referencing (In Social Property)
- Part 5: An Introduction To Collaborative Working With The Third Sector
- Part 6: The Highs And Lows Of Working In Social Property Investment
- Part 7: Where Is The Best Place To Invest In Social Property?
- Part 8: How To Find The Perfect Social Tenant For Your Multi-Let
- Part 9: Universal Credit & What It Means For Landlords and Investors
- Part 10: What Will The Homelessness Reduction Bill Mean For Landlords?
- Part 11: What Is Social Value and What Does It Mean For Property Investors?
Working In Social Property Investment
Working in social property investment, for me, is really something that’s in my blood.
I started out, working for a council when I was around 18 years old and I spent about eight years managing properties and tenancies with vulnerable people, homeless people, children leaving care, those who had learning disabilities and mental health issues.
I worked with UKBA and the Asylum Seeker agency, so, for me, I’ve always worked with this type of tenant group.
It’s something I really enjoy and I get a lot from.
My Biggest Mistakes
The biggest mistakes I’ve made in social property have always come down to choosing the wrong type of tenant, where choosing the right tenant for a property is a fundamental factor in social property investment.
If you get the wrong tenants you’re going to be in for a hard ride.
Although this is true for any kind of investment in property, in the social sector, you need to take particular care over who you are moving into your properties.
You need to take care who you are allowing to live with whom, and how the specifics of the arrangement are structured.
A Time Things Went Really Wrong
For example, when I first started out, I felt really sorry for somebody and I housed them when my gut feeling told me not to.
That person ended up having a psychotic breakdown and caused a lot of pain and a lot of destruction within the house. Eventually, that person had to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Here, I learned the lesson, that when you’re working on a social property investment project, you are not in a position to help everybody and not everybody can be helped by you.
It’s unfortunate, it’s sad – but it’s true.
So, it’s really important to make sure that you are selecting the best type of tenants that are going to fit in, in the environment you can provide. And, that what you are building will work for all involved, yourself included.
Partner Agencies and the Third Sector
The best way to find (and work with) the right tenants is by collaborating with the third sector.
By this, I mean working with non-profit organisations, housing associations, charities and voluntary groups.
It is from these agencies that we find the advice and guidance you need in both selecting your tenants and on how to achieve ongoing support for the duration of their tenancy.
But, if you’re ever in any doubt about who you are housing, if you have a feeling that a person is not going to be right, then my advice is that you should not house them in one of your houses.
The truth is that there will always be plenty of other prospective tenants, who will be a better fit for you and more suitable for your property.
The Best Thing About Working In Social Property Investment
The best thing about working in social property is the feeling you get when you successfully house a social tenant.
There is no better feeling in the world than being able to move someone from a living under cardboard on the street to a proper house.
When you see someone, who has been homeless, take up an independent tenancy everything feels worthwhile. Maybe you will see them get a job or start mentoring or coaching someone else who has been homeless.
It’s amazing to be a part of somebody’s journey when it is like this and this is what drives me to keep going and wanting to create these types of solutions again and again and again.
My Advice To Investors Wanting To Work In Social Property
My top tip for social property investors is to network, network, network.
Connect with anybody and everybody that you think may be able to support you on this type of investment journey.
And we’ve talked it about it before. Connect with the councils, connect with the charities, connect with the housing associations and get all the support that you can.
And prepare yourself for putting a lot of thought and planning into the type of project you want to set up, the type of people you want to house and how much resources and help and assistance that you’re prepared to offer.
But most importantly, be realistic about what you are able to achieve, who you are going to help and who is going to be able to help you to achieve it too.
You can read more about Amy Varle’s journey in property by clicking here.
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