Five homeless people will have a roof over their heads this Christmas thanks to a kind-hearted PropTech chief.
Mike Georgeson, founder of online rental platform RentalStep, is also a landlord in Liverpool and works with local community interest company OurHouseOurPeople, which runs a shelter for the homeless in a redundant office block in the city.
“I’m a landlord of a house in Anfield which I’d previously let to young professionals, singles and couples, for whom it was generally their first time away from home” says Georgeson.
“When I was approached by OurHouseOurPeople to see whether I would let the house to them with all the tenants being former homeless people, it seemed like a great idea” he says.
The house doesn’t just provide shelter but it means they have a base from which to claim benefits, apply for job interviews and earn a credit rating to help get their lives back on track.
“The lack of an address is a huge barrier to people being able to get their lives in order and start making a positive contribution to society again - and being a valuable part of it” Georgeson explains.
“I wanted to give something back. We’re all just a pay cheque away from this being us, so of course I wanted to help.”
“I also wanted to show that not all landlords are bad - I’m genuinely over the moon to be able to help these people - and perhaps encourage other landlords to offer their homes for similar use too.”
RentalStep, based in Liverpool, was set up in April 2017 to connect tenants with landlords, provide reliable references and log their on-time rental payment history to improve their credit score via a Tenant Passport.
It now offers this free service to 7,000 tenants and 1,800 landlords registered on its platform.
It also provides a premium service through which it manages properties, including advertising on Rightmove and Zoopla, carrying out an annual gas safety certificate test, managing viewings and collecting rent.
“Through RentalStep, I can provide even more practical help too, and give people that all-important address which they need to turn their lives around” adds Georgeson.
“And, yes, it’s an investment for me as a businessman because one day these people might be tenants of private landlords who are registered with us, but to be able to offer the opportunity as an individual to help people get a roof over their heads, a job and eventually a home of their own, feels good.”