Foundation is proud to work in partnership. Working together with others we can create services that best meet the needs of the vulnerable people that we are here to serve. As a huge amount of our work is around providing stable, suitable and sustainable housing for our customers, one of the most crucial partner relationships that we have is with private landlords. In recent times, ‘private landlords’ have received an awful lot of bad press in the media; making money from housing benefit and allowing tenants to endures terrible living conditions. Whilst we recognise these issues are certainly in existence, Foundation also has the opportunity to work with a huge number of good, sincere and professional landlords.

Our Wakefield Project Manager, Anne Hadfield, talks here about the project’s relationship with ‘The Responsible Landlord Scheme’, headed up by Steve Chippendale at Wakefield Council. Steve works with private landlords who have received an ‘accreditation’ for the quality and professionalism of their lettings. He connects those landlords with organisations, such as Foundation, who need good quality, affordable housing for their vulnerable tenants. Anne says;

‘Following a presentation at one of Steve’s quarterly private Landlord meetings, I now have a Portfolio of about sixty properties that we manage for these Landlords. The relationship has benefits both ways; they get their rent guaranteed every month, we have properties where we can house and support people in need. We visit our customers in their home at least once a week to support them and keep the property up to the standards in which it was given to us. We use the properties as a ‘trainer’ property for ‘FitKit’, helping prepare our customers in all aspects of independent living skills (such as addressing an complex needs, budgeting, healthy eating, taking responsibility for the upkeep of the property, social inclusion activities and help seeking employment). We can then move forward to getting our customers resettled into more permanent accommodation as appropriate.

One particular private landlord has bought four flats specifically for Foundation use. They are his ‘Retirement Investments’ as he is now retired from what was his business career. He loves the fact that he is getting a return for his investment AND helping the vulnerable in the community.

Private Landlords are a ’godsend’ for our customers. The lack of single person accommodation in the Wakefield District is well noted and the discrimination that our customers face through offending , substance misuse and other issues, is marked.

One of our customers, who has been through a ‘trainer’ property and is now settled in his own plavce, volunteers for us on a regular basis. Last week, he did some work promoting our service at a local carboot. In discussion with an interested passerby he said, ‘Without this lot I wouldn’t had had the second chance I needed’. We’re incredibly proud of what he has achieved through a service, a service which is reliant, here in Wakefield, on relationships with good private landlords.’

To find out more about the Accredited Landlord scheme, contact Steve Chippendale tel: 01924 306665.