What makes Let Us ethical?
Updated: Sep 22, 2022
Landlords and investors often ask me ‘What make Let Us ethical?’ so I thought I would share an explanation of why we describe ourselves as an Ethical lettings Agency.
Fundamentally our goal is to help to tackle the housing crisis in Greater Manchester by increasing the supply of affordable homes by opening up the private rented sector to people who really need a place to call home. It is no secret that demand for social housing far outweighs supply, and while housing associations are busy developing more affordable housing there simply aren’t enough homes available for those earning low incomes. The growth of Let Us is supported by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, indicating the level of importance and value placed on engaging the private rented sector to meet housing need.
Tenants are often fearful of large, unexpected rent increases, and many simply can’t afford a home in the private rented sector. The properties Let Us manages are offered to tenants at a rent level equivalent or below the Local Housing Allowance rate, which is the amount that benefit claims can contribute to housing costs. By offering rents at this level we try to keep our homes affordable, ensure tenancies are sustained and minimise the risk of homelessness.
Let Us removes the many financial barriers households can face when trying to access private rented housing. We don’t ask for deposits or any other fees associated with renting our homes, and we undertake affordability assessments for new tenants rather than excluding households based on their source of income. Our tenants range from those who are entirely financially independent through to those who are reliant on support from the benefits system.
The Let Us partnership is a group of housing associations. As such, we don’t profit from our services, any surplus is reinvested back into the communities we work in. We also have a range of services available to support tenants, either delivered by us or through our local networks, including financial advice and employment and training support. For us, finding solutions to help a tenant succeed in their tenancy and become a part of the community is essential to our approach.
For our landlord and investor partners, our approach is transparent; when we make an offer there are no hidden costs and fees, and we offer a guaranteed rental income regardless of whether the property is occupied. This means that there are no additional costs such as taking inventories or referencing tenants. We take on the financial liability for a property while it is unoccupied, so we have a vested interest in making sure that any void periods are minimised, and tenants are able and likely to look after their home and sustain their tenancy. Landlords benefit from knowing that their homes are managed by an organisation with vast experience of managing housing, including accommodation for the most vulnerable tenants, with robust policies and practices and experienced repairs and maintenance services. As social landlords we are all regulated and audited on a regular basis, giving peace of mind to our partners and stakeholders.
This summarises the primary credentials of Let Us as an Ethical Lettings Agency. We are committed to continuing to grow the service to achieve even greater outcomes for people in Greater Manchester by delivering high quality, affordable, accessible and sustainable homes for people who really need them.
Blog by Johanna Russell, Project Manager at Let Us.