A sales and letting agency has opened for business on a high street in Luton that will operate as a normal estate agency but also be a housing drop-in centre for homeless people and those on benefits.
Called Luton Lets Squared, the branch is part of a growing trend in the UK for councils to open and operate their own ‘social letting agencies’.
This one is a joint venture between Luton Council and a local housing association Squared. T
The branch and its website looks at first glance like any other agency on Luton’s high street. But although Luton Lets Squared will charge landlords fees in line with those charge by traditional agents in the area, it will then use the profits to help vulnerable people find accommodation.
The agency is to lease properties off local landlords but then sign an AST between itself and the tenant, not the landlord.
Profits from the business will also be used to help those who are homeless or struggling to find affordable accommodation. This will include helping them put down deposit and obtain references in order to rent a home.
John Holman, interim service director for housing, said: “Luton Lets Squared is an exciting initiative that brings together the accumulated knowledge and experience of two valued organisations.
“Affordable accommodation is vital for everyone in the town – irrespective of who they are – and for many a dependable, secure home is the first step towards lifting themselves out of financial hardship.”
Read more about affordable homes.