Affordable housing options in Brighton and Hove are becoming increasingly rare. The average rent for a one bed flat in the city is now over £850 per month. Local Housing allowance (the amount that housing benefit will cover) is less that £650 per month.
The big four housing associations with whom the City Council works to develop ‘affordable’ housing, have plans to develop less than 20 homes for affordable rent over the next few hears, although they will be doing many for sale or shared ownership.
The City Council needs to work with others who are willing and able to develop homes to rent at affordable levels. The big plans to prestige developments in the City will not help to address the housing crisis we are facing, although they will be attractive to the 4,000 or so well-off households who move to Brighton and Hove from London each year.
At BHT we increasingly work with private landlords to encourage them to rent to people who might otherwise struggle to get accommodation. Through our PRS Solutions service we run courses to prepare or remind individuals what it takes to be a good tenant. While BHT cannot ultimately provide a ‘guarantee’ for these individuals, most tenancies that are agreed with those who have been through this course are successful. Private landlords find their risk is reduced by the preparatory work we undertake and the follow up we provide.
Here is what one landlord recently said to us:
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to give my comments now that we have been working together for a little while.
“I find the landlord/BHT liaison successful. In particular I would highly commend the assistance and efficiency I received from Judith, Ceri, Jo and yourself. This may range from sorting out housing benefit issues, putting forward suitable candidates, ongoing- liaison between clients and me, frequently attending viewings and completing paperwork.
“Overall, most candidates that you have sourced on my behalf have been suitable and settled in very well and many are now approaching their seventh year of occupation. As a rule, I rarely increase rents and pitch rents directly in line with LHA rates so that candidates know where they are and can budget their expenses accordingly. For me, it is more of a significant value to have a continuity of content and harmonious tenants within a building who may be on lower rents that were set years ago than it is to have a high turnover of transient tenants who may be paying higher rents.
“I am pleased to report that it is rare that I have had no option but to give notice to any of your candidates. Typically, there have been two recent occasions in succession that this has occurred but these incidents have not put me off from working with BHT. In fact, I received good support and the collateral damage was limited (although it did require a lot of pro-activity on all our parts to deal with other non-connected agencies). In an ideal world, it would be perfect if BHT had funding for removals/cleaning contracts as deposits from candidates are sometimes difficult to obtain.”
You can read more about our PRS Solutions service here.