A council initiative has prevented homelessness for almost 50 families and avoided the £275,000 cost of putting them in emergency housing by matching them with responsible private landlords.
The council set up Croydon Lettings last summer to improve the long-term prospects of tenancies in the private rented sector by working more closely with landlords and struggling families.
Less than one year on from the creation of Croydon Lettings, the council has:
- Moved 47 households – or 76 people – faced with eviction into more affordable rented properties
- Removed the need to spend £275,000 placing them in temporary council accommodation
- Developed a wraparound tenancy service as the main contact for both families and landlords
The agency, which is run by the council’s Gateway welfare service, works by giving prospective tenants a personalised training course before being matched with a private landlord. The course includes budgeting advice, benefits support, tenancy tips and wider skills training.
Croydon Lettings also gives eligible families up to a month’s rent or deposit in advance to reduce unmanageable debt, and it sets up the tenants’ council tax and utility bill accounts.
Landlords benefit by getting a wider pool of vetted tenants, a guaranteed rent, paying no charges to the council unlike with high street lettings agents and a named contact at the council, which all avoids tenancies breaking down.
Landlord Michael Cafferkey, who has let two three-bedroom properties in Kenley and Croydon since Christmas through Croydon Lettings, said his tenants have settled in well and that he would use Croydon Lettings in future. He said: “I would recommend them to other landlords. I have had properties with private tenants, and if they were to move out I would have no hesitation in ringing up the council.”
Councillor Alison Butler, Croydon Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services, said:
“Croydon Lettings want to ensure both tenants and landlords have a positive experience so by tackling any issues early the council is protecting vulnerable tenants, supporting landlords and reducing the significant personal and financial burden on all involved.
“In less than a year Croydon Lettings is fast developing a strong track record, and I urge private landlords who want support from an alternative lettings agency to sign up so we can achieve even more together.”