Haringey London Borough Council and Homes for Haringey, commissioned Neil Morland & Co to complete an options appraisal on accommodation options for under 35-year olds with no dependents residing with them. The project was completed during January – March 2018.
The options appraisal covered:
- approaches taken in other nearby local authorities
- approaches taken by private landlords and voluntary organisations
- opportunities to collaborate with housing associations
- potential use of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s)
- potential for online advertising of housing options to under 35-year olds
- how to provide support and safeguard against exploitation from private rental landlords.
Meetings were held with the local authority, housing associations, other public authorities and voluntary organisations, people experiencing homelessness via a focused consultation event, private landlords and local estate agents.
Homes for Haringey provides homelessness and housing advice services on behalf of Haringey London Borough Council. The sourcing of affordable accommodation for under 35’s represents a significant challenge for Homes for Haringey. Most young adults need to claim welfare benefit to help pay housing costs. This is limited to the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR), with a maximum of approximately £90 per week, whereas the median rent for a room in the borough is approximately £130 per week.
The options appraisal highlighted that the housing move-on pathway currently used in Haringey did not appear to be working as effectively as it could. In essence, individuals were being encouraged to move on from supported projects when they were not ready. Not only was this having a detrimental impact on those individuals, it appeared to be causing strained relationships between agencies and private landlords. If this was to carry on, the likelihood of landlords continuing to provide accommodation for this cohort would reduce significantly.
Having considered all the housing options available for under 35-year olds, it was apparent that social housing was the most affordable, private renting was the most accessible, and home ownership offers the most secure. However, shared private rented accommodation was the most viable option, either living in a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) or lodging, providing appropriate support was available to those persons who required it.
HMO’s were available locally and a viable option. The most beneficial would be for Haringey Council to procure its own accommodation, then arrange for the management and maintenance to be undertaken internally or outsourced to a reputable organisation. Haringey can use its own funds to procure properties, and/or consider private investment as an alternative. This latter option would also allow for houses that could be converted to HMO’s. Full costings (capital, including conversion and revenue) on these options were provided alongside a good practice guide on how HMO’s are best managed.
Moving forward, Haringey Council has been advised to review its current single homeless pathway, to ensure that appropriate move on is taking place and the appropriate services are in place to manage it. Drawing-up a good practice guide has been recommended, to help better engage and support prospective landlords. This can be distributed to local estate agents and Haringey Council and Homes for Haringey can agree an approach to procure HMO’s, including properties for conversion. Haringey Council will need to ensure effective arrangements are in place to manage HMO accommodation. Haringey Council has engaged with private investors, to explore options for procuring accommodation.