Homes in Partnership - A landlord's view
Milton Keynes Council values its local landlords and is keen to work with them to increase the supply of properties to its tenants.
Homes in Partnership is suitable for both new and experienced landlords who want a guaranteed income from their properties, help with tenant liaison, and support, but don’t have the time to advertise, interview and secure tenants.
Chris has been a landlord for about 25 years and this is his experience of working with Milton Keynes Council.
“I decided to try letting a house via the Milton Keynes Council’s ‘Homes in Partnership Scheme’ and found the scheme very easy to use; the council staff were very helpful and met me at the house to check the property to ensure that it was suitable for letting.
The Homes in Partnership team at the council found a suitable tenant and worked to ensure that they would be able to afford the rent, and clarified the responsibilities.
I was introduced to the tenant at the property (and had the opportunity of refusing the tenant if I felt the proposed tenant was unsuitable). In many cases the tenant will be receiving full or partial housing benefit. In these cases the Homes in Partnership (team) ensure that the housing benefit claim is progressed without delay.
The first tenant I had under this scheme stayed in the property until the end of the initial agreement and then moved on. When they left the property I can honestly say that the house looked as if no-one had ever lived in it. It was returned spotlessly clean. The next tenant moved in five weeks later and is still renting the property.
It’s all very well saying what went well with the scheme, but it is perhaps more important to tell what happens when things go wrong.
With the second tenant at the property all went well for a number of months and then the rent started to arrive late. Then it stopped. I spoke to the tenants who said they would catch up with the rent. Some effort was made to pay the rent, and then the rent payments stopped again. After a while the tenants stopped answering telephone calls from me, and would not open the door when I went round to see them. I am sure that many landlords have been in this position in the past, and there is that sinking feeling when you know you are in for some trouble.
I contacted the Homes in Partnership team at the council and explained the problem. The team immediately arranged for the housing benefit to be paid directly to me. (It’s worth noting that the policy has now changed and that housing benefit is paid directly to the landlord).
A member of the Homes in Partnership team arranged to visit the tenant and discussed the situation with them. They explained to the tenant that paying their rent should be their first priority, and advised that eviction was a possible consequence.
They explained to the tenants that the housing benefit would be paid directly to me in future, and they had to make up the shortfall every month. The also explained that they had to agree with me a repayment scheme to catch up on the rent arrears.
An agreement was reached to make the repayments and the tenant caught up with the arrears and they are still living at the house and have now been there almost four years.
I have been so impressed with the Homes in Partnership scheme that when I bought another house I let this through the Homes in Partnership scheme. The tenant moved in soon after and I am pleased to say they are still there, and the tenancy is running well.
I would certainly recommend the Homes in Partnership scheme to both new landlords and experienced landlords. It is well thought out and well operated. The team at the council give good support to both tenants and landlords.”
Last Updated: 30 November 2017