Deciding which areas are funded is a difficult decision, especially when working for the public sector. There are always going to be cuts and losses, which make it seem impossible to find a solution.
The current housing crisis is putting pressure on Local Authorities to act and support residents, but if the funding isn’t available and the workers are stretched thin, it can create distrust between the residents and the authorities.
One of our clients currently works for a Local Authority in North London and is in charge of a huge number of vacant buildings. Their name is Anita, and despite trying their best to manage the stock, they often receive emails and calls regarding the vacant properties and why, considering the current state of the housing market, these properties remain empty.
It’s not an easy question to answer, especially when some are facing homelessness due to rising rental costs with no alternatives. When our client came to us, they explained that the cost of renovating the building, finding tenants and maintaining it is too much for them to consider. But on the other hand, the security measures they had been employing at the time they contacted us were costly and often resulted in break-ins and anti-social behaviour.
It’s stressful, and we wanted to reassure Anita that there was a solution to their problem that would provide not only security but also affordable homes for locals.
Currently, in their local area, it is predicted that between 2021 – 2022, 278,110 people became at risk of homelessness or are currently homeless. This is a massive rise from 2019 and shows that the worsening economic state is impacting a large number of residents.
Anita made it clear to us that the intention is to put these buildings back into use eventually, but for now she needed a solution that would allow her to focus on other projects and secure the funding for their redevelopment.
Initially, she was concerned that the costs for refitting the buildings would be on her, but knowing that is what often halts the vacant buildings being used, we made sure she understood that we would take on that cost, as well as all internal maintenance.
Taking away that stress gave Anita instant relief and after an initial inspection, we moved ahead with painting and reflooring the properties. Once they were habitable, Anita was happy for us to advertise the properties and find the right Guardians to secure them.
We received enquiries immediately, notably from a number of people living in private rentals in the area who had received an increase in rent they couldn’t afford. Anita could see via our CRM system, My Globe, that there were people being moved in by the end of the week, and she called to ensure everything was running smoothly within the property.
With her work reduced, it allowed Anita to go ahead with her plans to redevelop the area. The savings her Local Authority were able to make meant they could invest in existing properties too, repairing things like playgrounds and helping to fund community initiatives that are incredibly important at a time like this.
If you manage vacant property stock within the public sector, it might be time to consider Guardianship as your solution. Our service provides affordable housing and allows you the time and energy to improve on other aspects of your community.
Give us a call on 02038189100 to find out more, or visit the client side of our website.