In October 2013, I joined the Housing Quality Network as an associate, specialising in the private rented sector. Since then I have completed two assignments for HQN:
The first was a briefing on choice based lettings systems in light of recent developments such as the Welfare Reform Act 2012, the increased role of the private rented sector, the move to Affordable Rent, increased homelessness and the Localism Act 2011.
The second was a briefing on private sector leasing schemes and social lettings agencies.
Currently, we are working on a benchmarking tool for housing associations (HAs) and local authorities (LAs) engaged in the private rented sector (PRS); we have identified 4 different types of PRS activity by HAs and LAs:
- Private sector leasing schemes
- Social lettings agencies
- Own market rent stock
- Enforcement and licensing
The idea behind the benchmarking tool is to support those LAs and HAs engaging in PRS activities and also to identify examples of good practice to share with others.
I have drafted a number of possible benchmarking measures which are currently out for consultation with fellow HQN associates and a HQN member organisation. All being well, the plan is to circulate the finalised benchmarking measures to all relevant HQN members in September. Once the results are in, I will analyse and report on them to all HQN members so that they may learn and develop from them.
As coordinator of a private sector leasing scheme, I’m really looking forward to finding out how other schemes operate and perform; I have made a few contacts with fellow PSL colleagues, however, there is very little information and support available to us. This is one of the reasons why I suggested to HQN that a PRS benchmarking tool was needed in the sector and I’m really pleased that they’ve taken up the idea.