Scaling up social lettings? Scope, impact and barriers

by Tom Archer, Rich Crisp, Ed Ferrari, Stephen Green, Lindsey McCarthy, Tom Moore, David Mullins, Ben Pattison, and Halima Sacranie

How important are social lettings agencies, and how can they be supported to unlock more options for low-income, vulnerable people? 

This report identifies a range of different organisations, described as social lettings agencies (SLAs), that are seeking loosen the grip of poverty by improving the options available to low-income or vulnerable households in the private rented sector (PRS). Although not a substitute for wider, systemic changes, this innovative sector has an important role to play in the PRS and can be encouraged to grow with support from government and other stakeholders.

Recommended actions

  • Central government needs to ensure that there is an enabling national regulatory and funding environment that makes it possible for SLAs to operate.
  • Managing and reducing the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) gap would be the most effective way for the Government to support SLAs.
  • The proposed introduction of a ban on upfront fees that lettings agents can charge tenants as part of the Tenant Fees Bill provides an opportunity to review how lettings agents function and whether additional changes could improve the overall functioning of this market for the benefit of both landlords and tenants.

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