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Housing for those moving on from offending

We're working in partnership with the Probation Service and local private landlords to help ex-offenders into private rented accommodation. The Accommodation for Ex-Offenders (AFEO) partnership has played a vital role in helping tenants develop new skills and enjoy a fresh start in life.

We consulted with local private landlords on the help they would need from us to provide this much-needed housing. We agreed the following incentives for landlords:

  • avoid paying Council Tax on empty properties
  • no tenant-finding fees
  • no property management fees
  • tenancy agreement provided
  • rent guarantee for 12-month period including £50,000 of legal cover
  • equivalent to first month's rent paid upfront
  • accompanied viewings
  • key safe provided at property
  • regular property checks while the scheme is running
  • direct rental payments to landlords if the tenant receives Universal Credit or Housing Benefit
  • payment of the deposit for the tenant
  • inventory carried out
  • bespoke landlord support in tenancy and property matters
  • one-to-one support to the tenant in relation to Universal Credit, benefit applications and tenancy related matters
  • tenant and landlord matching to ensure success and sustainability of tenancy

What we have achieved

Through the initial funding from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Gateshead Council was successful in its bid for financial support for this scheme due to our successful Offenders Homeless Prevention Pathway, which was created following the Homeless Reduction Act 2017.

The Accommodation for Ex-Offenders (AFEO) partnership has played a vital role in helping tenants have a fresh start in life and develop personally.

Through this work we have reduced homelessness and rough sleeping for ex-offenders by creating sustainable tenancies in the private-rented sector through ongoing advice, support and backing from Gateshead Council. This has created sustainable successful tenancies which have allowed many tenants to move into employment and education.

How the scheme works

For landlords, financial incentives including landlord insurance can be provided, alongside support that ensures the property meets current health and safety standards.

Landlord Carrie Hargreaves is impressed with the support she has received:

Previously, I'd always approach estate agents to find tenants. I appreciate how costly this can be for some individuals, so I feel with this scheme I'm doing something worthwhile, plus it saves me a little bit of money as there are no fees. I've been impressed with how quickly the tenant was put in place and the matching process feels well thought through. I'd be happy to continue until such a point in the future when I sell, but not anticipating this for many years.

 

The wraparound support for tenants is also excellent. There's support for landlords too, which, whilst not necessarily expected, brings peace of mind.

If any tenancy issues arise, such as rent arrears, the assigned support worker can facilitate contact between the tenant and landlord to address and resolve the issues early on. The support worker has direct access to DWP to help with issues with Universal Credit claims.

Additionally, it is the support worker's role to help increase the confidence of the tenant and help them to become a good neighbour and member of the community. When supporting a tenant, a specialist Homeless Support Worker will be on hand to help make the tenancy sustainable and will guide the tenant on how to make benefit claims, conduct job searches, furnish the property and become self-sufficient.

Getting in touch

We would like to hear from any private landlords 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 afeo@gateshead.gov.uk or call 07732 405 444.