PRIMED FOR GROWTH
Ethical Lettings Agency targets expansion after major investment
This summer marks five years of The Ethical Lettings Agency (TELA), a social enterprise letting agency based in Redcar. The agency was started from scratch by founder Carla Keegans, a long-standing housing professional who wanted to make a difference to housing need in her community.
The agency lets and manages properties for private landlords across Teesside and has a unique housing management operating model that strictly controls rent arrears and voids and delivers a value for money repairs service. The agency supports tenants to sustain their tenancies, often working with vulnerable people. Over the past two years the numbers of homeless people housed by the agency has grown significantly, reflecting the worsening socio-economic conditions across Teesside.
TELA balances managing properties financially efficiently with supporting tenants, meaning they work in the interests of both landlords and tenants. The agency now has a core team of four staff, and by proving its operating model in 2018, Carla successfully raised £5m of social investment via Bridges Evergreen Holdings to establish a sister company, The Ethical Housing Company (EHC).
The property company is socially driven and the money raised is solely to purchase properties that are then let and managed by the Agency for people in housing need. After a successful two years, the housing company is now set for growth and has recently appointed a business development manager to help grow the portfolio, a senior operations manager and a part-time finance director from a ‘big four’ background.
During lockdown, Carla has been working with authorities and local VCS organisations to help develop solutions for the many homeless people that were placed into emergency accommodation, and the housing company is now actively building a pipeline of properties to provide move-on accommodation. By moving into property owned by EHC and managed by TELA, homeless people stand a much better chance of getting back on their feet and not going back into a ‘revolving door’ of homelessness, as is so often the case.
Looking ahead to a post-Covid world, Carla said: “The economic recession that is predicted will hit hard on Teesside because we had worse conditions pre-Covid. The need for decent and affordable rented housing with support for people will grow and this is what drives us.”
The company’s offices in central Redcar have also undergone an expansion and refurbishment to house the growing team and to enable plenty of social distancing.
If you have property to let or manage please contact the Agency on 01642 484845 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . If you have property to sell, please contact Louise Gilbey on 07555 email@example.com, no fees are charged to sellers.