Families rehoused in Harrow by Help2Let
Tuesday 09th October 2012 - 10:41am

(This article appeared in the Harrow Observer in February 2011)


MORE than 70 families have been re-housed through Harrow Council’s innovative new internal lettings agency.


With more than 4,000 people on the authority's housing list but a shortage of social properties, the council usually has to pay a private lettings agency to find homes for them on the open market.


But this model has been replaced by a service called Help2Let which sees the council itself matching tenants on receipt of housing benefit with landlords and thus cutting out of the middle man and saving money.


Officers provide peace of mind to both parties by ensuring the quality of the accommodation and providing a bond of two months' rent respectively.


One of the first to be rehoused, Gaye O’Connell, said: “It might sound dramatic, but I don’t know what I would have done without it.


“I know the council don’t have many houses to give people, so I was sure I would be waiting for years, but once I was put in touch with the Help2Let team things started happening for me very quickly and the whole thing was painless.”


Arun Debnath, a landlord who has six houses under the scheme, said: “I work with other councils too and none of them offer a service as good as this, it is a winner for everyone involved: the landlord, tenant and the council.


“I think this is the way forward and would be happy to recommend it to anyone because the service is friendly and professional.”


More than 75 private landlords have signed up with Help2Let and the council's portfolio holder for housing, Councillor Bob Currie (Labour), said: “Everyone deserves to live in a decent home and this scheme is about finding quality accommodation for some of the least well off in our communities.


“We are teaming up with private landlords to stand up for local people and give them access to quality, affordable homes.


“We hope it will also drive up standards in the private rented sector across the whole borough."