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Housing for those moving on from offending

The Government is asking councils to help those moving on from offending, into the private rented sector.

In May 2021 we sought the views and opinions of local private landlords on what incentives they would need to work with the Council to provide this much needed housing. In particular:

  • the interest in working with the Council to house someone who is moving on from offending
  • what concerns there would be
  • what incentives would be needed
  • what ongoing support for the tenant would provide encouragement to provide such a tenancy
  • what assurances would be needed

The purpose

The purpose is to reduce homelessness and rough sleeping of ex-offenders/prison leavers by creating sustainable tenancies in the private rented sector via incentives and ongoing advice and support from the Council and partners to both landlord and tenant. 

Landlords were invited to attend an online session held on 12 May 2021 and provided the following feedback:

  • some advised they would not consider housing this client group
  • some landlords with experience of housing this client group advised they would house again with support, whilst others would not
  • for those that would consider or already house the client group they would request/were interested in the following:
    • rent insurance for the full initial 12-month tenancy term
    • a deposit product to cover the term after the initial 12 months
    • tenant/property selection based on behaviour, location and potential community impact
    • support with universal credit claims/non-payment of universal credit
    • assurance of support for the tenant to prevent re offending/life skills
    • support if things go wrong, for example missed rent, damage, anti-social behaviour complaints
    • legal cover/service for matters such as possession and eviction
    • cover for damage and theft
    • free training for landlords on housing this client group and their needs
    • effective communication between landlords and partners such as the probation service
    • tenant vetting/referencing  

Following this feedback, a scheme is now being developed to include a combination of options (depending upon maximum funding allocated per property and individual circumstances/preferences) to encourage private landlord participation: 

Incentives for the landlord

  • a cash incentive to participate and/or
  • a rent guarantee insurance product facilitated by the Council to cover the full rent for the full 12-month tenancy initial term (for example if the tenant fails to pay or returns to prison) and/or
  • legal protection - up to £50,000 (includes a mediation service for tenancy issues and support with service of notice/evictions) and/or
  • a rental deposit/bond to cover the full length of the tenancy during and after the initial term of 12 months (eligibility criteria applies, rate calculated on LHA rates) and/or
  • financial support towards a property deep clean at the end of the fixed term (if required) and/or
  • financial support towards the removal of belongings (if required) at the end of the fixed term and/or
  • cover for minor damage up to £250

Further support

We already have a comprehensive support service for those moving on from prison and other supported housing. The scheme would also provide the following to help the tenancy run smoothly for both private landlords and tenants:

For the landlord

  • initial property visit and advisory support to get your property tenant ready  
  • matching service - matching a tenant with a landlord based on history, property type and location to encourage a sustainable tenancy
  • initial tenant affordability assessment 
  • housing history background check
  • assistance with undertaking a full inventory of condition and contents prior to tenancy start (required for deposit and insurance purposes)
  • dedicated contact for any issues/advice required during the tenancy including from an established service working with offenders 
  • support and advice for ongoing effective management and landlord responsibilities
  • support for tenancy issues that may arise such as anti-social behaviour complaints and non-payment of rent
  • regular and involved contact and communication with the Council and partners to encourage a sustainable tenancy and to raise issues early 

For the tenant 

  • personalised support for up to a year 
  • applying for benefits, getting backdated benefits, making payment arrangements for rent
  • budgeting and resolving issues with utility companies
  • ensuring applications for white goods and other furniture are made, including through charitable grant applications
  • tenancy skills, such as complying with a tenancy agreement, being a considerate neighbour and reporting repairs
  • ongoing support to help offenders have stable and sustainable tenancies, improve life skills and to move away from crime
  • direct working and communication with partners such as probation services, prisons and Police to manage risks to and from the  tenant
  • one point of contact for the tenant if they have any issues at all about managing a tenancy 

With enough secure and affordable properties for people to rent, hundreds of people can avoid falling into homelessness. That's why this scheme is being created; to find and support private landlords who can provide this much needed housing within Gateshead. 

Both landlord and tenant will be asked to sign up to the terms and conditions of the scheme. Permission from the mortgage lender to let is required and the property must meet the minimum housing standard.

Next steps

We would like to hear from any private landlord with available properties in Gateshead who are interested in participating in the scheme. 

We'd also like to hear from you if you don't want to commit right now, but have ideas or suggestions on how we could develop our service for landlords, so please get in touch.

Please contact or call 07732405444