Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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New Broadway project

May 18 2009
Real Lettings will source affordable housing from the private rental sector London homelessness charity Broadway has launched Real Lettings, a not-for-profit estate agency which provides affordable housing for the homeless. The service sources low-rental properties for suitable candidates and pledges landlords a steady stream of tenants, with rent guaranteed. "In the past, agencies and charities such as ourselves have bemoaned the lack of social housing," says Broadway deputy chief executive Mark Grant. "Rather than wait for something to happen, Broadway decided to come up with alternative solutions. The most obvious one is the use of the private rental sector." A number of landlords have already signed up to the service, but Real Lettings has had to work hard to dispel landlords' and tenants' preconceptions. "There has been a view of dodgy landlords providing poor quality accommodation with little security, ready to evict clients at the drop of a hat," says Grant. "In turn, many landlords see homeless people as potentially poor tenants." The service combats these issues by screening landlords and prospective tenants. Landlords are vetted and properties critically assessed. Real Lettings also guarantees that tenants coming through the scheme are ready for private rental housing, and provides ongoing support and advice for the newly-homed. "It makes a change when dealing with government-backed or local authority-approved organisations that there is a consistent point of contact that is genuinely trying to help to resolve any issues that may arise from time to time," says landlord Metin Gurpintar. Referrals to the scheme come through each council's Homeless Persons Unit. Successful applicant David Fairburn moved into his flat shortly after joining the service: "The scheme has given me a really good start in living in my own place after eight months in a hostel and a long time before that sleeping rough," he says, "Now I'm busy buying furniture that will last."