Creating Private Rented Sector Homes with Community Connections

 

"Over the last few years, many housing providers have adopted the concept of Place in their strategic and operational thinking. It’s common sense that investment, connectivity and service offers should not be seen, developed or delivered in isolation."

 

By relating the priorities, views and resources that can be brought to bear by partners to a locality in concert with residents and stakeholders we can achieve greater overall outcomes for communities.

One Manchester has long adopted a Place-based approach to its service and investment development across all strategic and local decisions, looking to use all our resources to the maximum effect in partnership with communities and stakeholders. We believe it’s the most grounded way to utilise the full value of funding to the advantage of residents, communities and also our own assets. Our experience shows that when we invest and deliver in isolation, the effectiveness and value of the intervention is ultimately misplaced and diluted.

In investing in new business areas, we continue to look outside traditional social housing landlord roles, bringing employment, training and education options direct to residents by linking with local employers and public sector; supporting the development of community focused social enterprises and SMEs and investing in and leading initiatives tackling homelessness. 

We have now taken the decision to bring our experience in investment and management into the private rented sector in Manchester. Over the last 10 years the private rented sector has grown significantly and is now the majority tenure in many areas, across many rent and property values. With a growing population in many parts of the city, this is often the only route to a home for living wage households. 

There are many good landlords, particularly represented by the National Landlords Associations and the Residential Landlords Association, but there are, however, areas and owners where investment in homes and place are minimal, and where a sub-market of poor condition and ad hoc tenancies exists with isolated households and communities.

We are looking to acquire and invest in up to 300 properties in targeted areas to provide more good quality homes with a stable long-term owner, linking those individual households into their local communities and place. We are not able to bring change alone and so we look to work with partners, residents and other landlords, public and private, to affect this change. 

Our model will be to provide affordable, well maintained homes which can be let to local residents. There will be a number of challenges around scale, condition and acquisition trying not to inflate prices as speculators look for profits, but by building up an ownership in these concentrated locations we believe that we can begin to influence positive change in these areas.

These will not be social housing tenancies, but well run affordable, private rented homes. They will complement our existing homes and our developing programme for building new homes, but not be dependant on public sector grant. We can acquire and refurbish for less than it will cost to build new and expand into areas where there is a need for more market stability and value for money. 

Ultimately we may look to grow further or recycle our investment to release funds by selling on homes to residents, to other accredited landlords or just hold onto homes long term. This will not be a universal panacea, and the private sector market will still be a place of primarily private ownership and business, but hopefully this small start will bring new like-minded owners and investors to streets and communities needing good homes with a stronger connection to the places and city they are part of.