WHAT IS THE ETHICAL HOUSING COMPANY?
We are a new company set up with a very clear mission, to provide decent quality and affordable housing to those who need it over the long term, in many cases preventing homelessness and ultimately resulting in a higher quality of life for vulnerable people.
WHY HAVE WE SET UP?
We are driven by a desire to ensure everyone has a home that they can afford. In today’s housing market over 20% of the population rent privately, many of whom are on low incomes, have support needs or face disadvantage. The private rental market is set to rise to a third of the population in the near future and we want to ensure as many people as possible have a decent home to rent.
Put simply, we want to ensure people have access to decent and affordable homes for as long as they need them. By providing our homes we know that many people and families will have a better foundation in life. We particularly want to ensure those who are, or have faced, homelessness are included in what we do.
HOW WILL WE ACHIEVE OUR MISSION?
We will buy properties, let them at affordable rent levels and maintain them to decent standards. We aim to own properties for up to 20 years thus providing long-term housing solutions for people who currently often have very little options open to them.
WHY HAVE WE SET-UP IN REDCAR?
We are working in partnership with The Ethical Lettings Agency CIC (TELA) who are based in Redcar. TELA has been letting and managing properties in the private rental market here for over two years and have proven the level of housing need in the area and the opportunity to make a real and lasting difference.
Redcar and the surrounding areas have suffered many years of economic decline, particularly in recent years with the closure of the steel plant and many job losses in a mine. This is on top of the general hard times since 2007. By buying properties in this part of the country, and by properly managing tenancies and maintaining properties, we will retain value in these communities. This in turn will benefit home owners, estate agents and local high streets in these areas as we help stop them from spiralling downwards into potential market failure.
WHERE WILL WE BE BUYING PROPERTIES?
In the early years we will be buying in Redcar and Cleveland, and the neighbouring Teesside boroughs. If successful, we will then look to expand operations to other areas of the country with similar levels of housing need.
DO WE HAVE A BLANK CHEQUE BOOK TO BUY PROPERTIES?
No! We have a very tight financial formula for buying properties. This means that we will buy properties only at a price point that can sustain a sufficient level of gross rental yield at affordable rent levels. This is absolutely crucial to serve our mission and scale the model to support more people over time.
WHAT TYPE OF PROPERTIES WILL WE BE BUYING?
Largely, we will be buying street houses, flats, and some semi-detached houses, the majority between 1-3 bedrooms. In the initial years, we will be buying properties that can be rented out quickly so they don’t need much work doing, if any.
WHERE HAS THE INVESTMENT COME FROM?
Bridges Evergreen Holdings, which is a permanent capital vehicle managed by Bridges Fund Management, the specialist sustainable and impact investor. Unlike standard private equity funds, Evergreen has no requirement to exit in a finite period – allowing it to provide financial and operational support to the Ethical Housing Company over the long-term.
Bridges has extensive experience in homelessness and property – it has funded 6 Social Impact Bonds aiming to reduce homelessness in partnership with public sector commissioners across the UK and has raised £500m across four Sustainable Property Funds, two of which have made significant contributions to affordable housing in Greater London.
I HAVE PROPERTY TO SELL, WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
Please contact us on 01642 484 845 or email@example.com who will firstly determine if it is:
a suitable property type for us
a location we want to buy in
within a price bracket we could potentially buy at
If yes to all three, we will arrange a property inspection and give you a YES or NO answer as to whether we can proceed with a purchase. If we can, then a surveyor will visit the property and if all ok we will make an offer ASAP.
IS THERE A CHARGE FOR SELLING MY PROPERTY TO YOU?
Yes. If we buy your property there will be a set £495.00 charge. We will collect this when purchasing the property. By selling to us, you get a cash buyer, very quickly.
I CAN PUT MY HOUSE PRICE UP NOW YOU’RE BUYING IT!
You may want to do this, but unfortunately, we can only buy properties at, or below, market value. In many areas where we are buying, properties take a long time to sell, if they sell at all, and we will reflect this in our offer. We have to be prudent because of our need to keep rents down to deliver our social mission; which ultimately benefits the communities we work in. We are also able to buy quickly, with no chain, which benefits sellers.
DO YOU HAVE PLANS TO BUILD OR SELL PROPERTIES?
We have no plans at the current time to build or sell properties.
WHO WILL LET AND MANAGE THE PROPERTIES YOU OWN?
The Ethical Lettings Agency CIC (TELA) will let and manage all of our properties. TELA operates professional and affordable tenancy and property management services based on many years of housing practice and experience.
HOW DO I RENT A HOUSE/FLAT WITH YOU?
Please contact The Ethical Lettings Agency (TELA) if you are looking for a home to rent.
You can phone us on 01642 484 845, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I HAVE A CLIENT THAT NEEDS SOMEWHERE TO LIVE, HOW DO I CONTACT YOU?
For all support agencies, community organisations, and local authority teams with potential tenants, please contact The Ethical Lettings Agency on 01642 484 845, or at email@example.com.
WHAT SUPPORT DO YOU GIVE TO TENANTS?
TELA does not provide support services directly to tenants but works closely with local and other organisations to access specialist support when this is needed by tenants. TELA provides professional housing management services meaning it ensures tenants can afford a property and understand their responsibilities before letting to them, carries out regular home visits, and assists with housing benefit problems. This all helps to prevent evictions and homelessness.
HOW LONG ARE THE TENANCIES YOU ISSUE?
We will issue six months Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) for all tenants initially. Before the six months comes to an end, we will review with the tenant if they want to stay and if so whether they want another tenancy agreement, for how long, or whether they are happy to stay on a rolling monthly tenancy. In TELA’s experience, the majority of tenants are currently happy to be on a rolling tenancy.
HOW WILL YOU EVALUATE YOUR SUCCESS?
We have a set of robust indicators for the social impact we deliver. Annually we will publish a social impact report detailing our successes, learnings and activities. This will particularly include the numbers of people we have helped who are affected by homelessness.