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Graham Awards


Council sets up own lettings agency to woo private landlords

A council has launched its own social lettings agency to work with private sector landlords in tackling the record numbers living in temporary accommodation.

High interest rates and the cost-of-living crisis are key factors leading to record numbers of families and individuals approaching the council for support, leaving Gravesham council with more than 200 households in expensive temporary accommodation.

GBC Lettings is part of the council’s response to the issue and claims it will work with private sector landlords in Gravesham to find homes for those who need them.


A council spokesperson says: “Temporary accommodation should be just that, a few brief nights’ stay in an emergency before moving on to something more permanent.

“But demand for social housing has soared in recent months as families struggle to make ends meet and has resulted in too many households spending too long in this sort of property.

“And it is expensive. We are looking at a bill of over £1m for temporary accommodation in the current financial year, against a budget originally set for less than half of that. It’s an unsustainable position and one we are having to be innovative and creative at tackling.”

GBC Lettings is looking to sign up private sector landlords who will take households directly from temporary accommodation.

In return, the council is offering what it calls “a fully managed service” including guaranteed rent on the first of each month; support through the process of turning properties around between tenants; a guaranteed tenant within two weeks of a property being ready to let; a minimum of four visits a year from council officers to check on properties; and a designated council officer for support and advice.

The council spokesperson continues: “Essentially, we are looking to make it as easy and straightforward as possible for landlords to provide a more permanent home for some of the families we are currently supporting in temporary accommodation.

“As a landlord, we already have 5,700 social housing properties that we manage and maintain on a daily basis. We are offering to bring that expertise to support our landlords, while guaranteeing them rental income.

“I hope many of our borough’s private landlords see the benefits of working with us for themselves, but most importantly for the well-being of so many local families in need of support.”

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    Nobody says it, mass immigration!

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    Work with a council? I’d rather sell up. Another waste of money by Gravesham, buy then it isn’t their money, is it? Perhaps if, when these bright ideas fail, councillors had to refund the money out of their own pockets, they would be a little more careful.

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    Let us rent your property for you, don't worry we wont abuse your trust and use your stock to satisfy our social shortcomings.

  • jeremy clarke

    How many councils have now tried this, poured thousands of tax payers money into a project that was doomed to fail from day 1?
    The problem with all councils is that all the staff are unaccountable and the money isn't theirs; if they had to run a business, they would be broke within weeks!


    Most are broke, and most can do it in less than a few weeks. Give them some credit, being incompetent does take some effort.

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    The law of agency compels the agent to act in the best interest of their principal (the landlord, in this case) at all times. So, should a council agency not secure the best market rental for the property they manage - perhaps in a bid to appease tenants who can't afford the true market rent - they could be sued by their landlords for failure to act in their best interest Interesting!


    I understand that even if your potential rental property is empty rental income at the going rate will still be paid.
    The Council and public will benefit (not only financially) because hotels (or temporary accomodation) is expensive.
    The property owners should not lose out - they should receive the going rate. The Council has the obligation of providing affordable rents to tenants I don't think this duty can be passed to property owners. The Council housing departments have access to specialists that understand the legal requirements of owning property and renting. They also have teams of people that look after the headaches of properties and Tennant's. It may be a win win.
    If you decide to go into partnership in this way please ensure your solicitor checks out the contract before you sign up.

  • James Scollard

    Why don’t they learn from other councils? They set this up, take on 2 properties a month, pay 5 staff, running at a massive loss. Then the scheme closes.

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    Not this old chesnut again! It doesnt work it never worked for any of the councils. Why dont the councils just work fairly with landlords and agents then they wont need to set up an agency.

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    I had a look on the council's website about their new letting agency. No company no. So unclear if separate from the council. Also no details about the redress scheme the letting agent by law will be required to be a member of. They only do deposit bonds for one month's rent for damage to property. They provide inventory and AST. If anyone wants to consider this service I would suggest checking the AST & standard of inventory. Their was on mention of credit checks etc

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Historically this has been a disaster. Looking at their 'site' already concerned with fees stated +VAT and no ombudsman scheme or CMP visible.......
    Non-compliance from the offset. What we do is not as easy as so many think!


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