Social/Local Lettings Agencies
Sarah Mitchell
Head of Private Renting, Crisis
[email protected]
020 7426 3866
Local lettings agencies
What are social/local lettings agencies?
Setting up and succeeding
The local authority angle
Comparison with commercial agencies
Any questions..?
About us
• National charity for single homeless people.
• National lead on using the private rented sector as a housing
option for homeless people.
• Dedicated work on private renting since 1997
• National advisory service on best practice in renting
Private renting and Crisis
• advice on using PRS to tackle homelessness
Scottish private renting network
PRS tips, research and practical tools
popular PRS guides and factsheets
Private Renting Champion schemes
online search for local PRS schemes
Housing Coaches; pre-tenancy training
What are local lettings agencies?
‘A social lettings agency should be developed in each local authority
area, offering a competitive management fee to landlords in
return for full property management. These agencies could absorb
all the PRS functions but should operate without complex and
expensive leasing arrangements. Tenants on housing benefit would
comprise an attractive letting proposition to landlords where an
intermediary agency mitigates the risk of rent arrears and is on
hand to deal with any anti-social behaviour.’
(Rugg 08)
Private renting
Local lettings
Income generating
PRS access schemes
•Funded (not income generating)
•Aimed at households in housing need
•Offer support for tenants and landlords, e.g. deposit
bonds; benefits assistance; pre-tenancy training;
named contact for support; leasing etc
•Run by either charities or local authorities
Local lettings agency- features
Not one single model:
•not for profit – social enterprise
•targeted at people in housing need
•tailored to local market
•supporting both tenants and landlords
But also:
Income-generating - not reliant on grants
Set up…or not?
Is a LLA the right option? Reasons why many agencies
want to set up:
•Dwindling funding for PRS schemes
•Private renting the only local housing option
•Cost and decreasing effectiveness of existing landlord
incentive schemes
•Landlords reluctant to house benefit recipients
But for successful scheme this must be a commercial
Set up…or not?
Questions to ask yourself first:
•Is this right for the local market?
•Have we done market research – fees, competition,
•Who are the right people to deliver it?
•Is our current service good enough to charge for?
•Is it necessary?
•Would a PRS scheme meet the need?
Set up…or not?
Treat it as any small business. Tailor to local market.
Key things to consider are:
•Service offer and customers – be responsive!
•Budgeting and cash flow
•Handling clients’ money
•Scale and speed
The local authority angle
Local lettings agencies are run by charities and by local
authorities. Some successful voluntary sector schemes:
Derventio (Derby)
Wigan Housing Solutions
Local authority run?
•Capital up-front
•Capacity to handle volume
•Local presence
•May lack skills and
•Reputation with
•May not be responsive to
Compared with commercial agencies?
Quality service e.g. fee transparency
Delivering for those in greatest housing need…?
Rugg: Tenants attractive to landlords because of the add-on support.
Is this still true?
Guide to Local Lettings Agencies
Step-by-step practical guide based on learning from successful schemes
Local Lettings Agency Guide and private renting best practice and

Sarah Mitchell, Crisis – PRS Conference