Charlie Lamdin has tried before to disrupt the property industry with his CIELA trade association for independent agents.
But now he’s taking an even more ambitious shot with a proposal to establish an industry-wide scheme to end homelessness, he tells The Negotiator.
The entrepreneur, who recently set up property website site BestAgent, says he is asking estate agents to join him in a new scheme that will provide rough sleepers, in association with local councils, with an Airbnb-style service using properties offered by private landlords.
Lamdin says BestAgent will provide the insurance that will cover the landlords against any damage done to the properties, and councils will pay the rent via the tenant’s Universal Credit housing payments.
BestAgent is not the first company to link itself with an altruistic cause – for example Boomin and Agents Together – but Lamdin refutes that there is a cynical connection between the two.
“I absolutely understand why people would think that,” he says.
“But I have no desire to be associated with anything appears to be accruing a ‘benefit’ from being connected with homelessness.”
Lamdin also says the proof of his commitment to the project is that he will bear the cost of the insurance to underwrite landlord risk in the project.
He is also speaking to several councils about waiving council tax on properties if landlords make their empty properties available via the scheme.
“We don’t see this as charitable project, we see this as the industry offering its resources to make a difference via agents’ relationships with landlords,” he says.
“If we all chose to actively deploy that influence and resource and connection it would be like the Americans joining WWII.”