A Home for Christmas! Orchard & Shipman Affordable Housing Breakthrough

It must be the best Christmas present ever! After a number of years of moving from one temporary home to another, a mother and her two children, have moved into a beautifully refurbished 3-bed house, courtesy of a joint venture between Bromley Council and Orchard & Shipman.

Orchard & Shipman’s, Director of Operations, Michelle Bowler, said: “Providing this home, especially just before Christmas was one of those gold dust moments that make our jobs so worthwhile.”

The Joint venture is funded by both the Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) and Bromley Council and has been created to purchase over 260 properties to provide affordable rented homes for families and individuals currently living in temporary accommodation. Funding was provided in August and purchases have been agreed on 149 homes. This means the £86 million project is well on target to acquire more than 260 properties for affordable housing by May 2022.

Michelle Bowler added: “The insecurity of temporary accommodation and misery of homelessness is proven to result in poor outcomes for health, education and general welfare. This initiative not only saves the Council and the tax payer money, but it also breaks the cycle of homelessness and gives people hope for the future and the opportunity to put down roots and build those social networks that we all need.”

Orchard & Shipman are responsible for sourcing, buying and then managing the properties on a fully insuring and repairing basis for 50 years after which ownership will revert to Bromley Council. These properties will be returned at no cost to the local authority.

The scheme provides for individuals and families to register for short and long term tenancies and for shared ownership and a chance to get on the property ladder, instead of having to rely on uncertain temporary or emergency accommodation.

One of the unique aspects of this project is the way PIC worked with the Council and Orchard & Shipman to ensure that the funding had the structure and flexibility needed to match the requirements of this project. Max Cawthorn, Senior Investment Manager at PIC said, “We are proud of the work we do with Local Authorities and Registered Providers and often, what makes sense for society can also help us to achieve our purpose, of paying the pensions of our policyholders. This has been an amazing and very worthwhile project to work on.”
The partners in the scheme have also acknowledged Revenue and Capital for their expertise in sourcing the participants and helping provide the structure that made this project a success.

“This room saved me.” How a Community Came Together to Help Residents Facing Homelessness – With Outcomes Nobody Ever Imagined

When Gillian Parris posted a request on Facebook for donations to turn a disused space into a Family Room, she never imagined the response she would get – or the far-reaching impact the room would have. But let’s start at the beginning …

During the summer, Gillian began her new role as an Orchard and Shipman Accommodation Manager at a residence provided by the local authority, as short-term accommodation for local people facing homelessness. As she was given an induction tour of the building, she noticed a large empty room. It was known as ‘The Family Room’ but the only toys were one broken rocking horse and a bookshelf with a handful of tattered children’s books on it. Gillian saw the potential the room had for being a place that parents could bring their children but knew funding was limited so she posted a request for donations of toys onto the Orpington Gossip group on Facebook. She never could have predicted the events this would set in motion.

The following week, Gillian was inundated with offers of toys for children and began driving around the borough to collect them. Word spread and she ended up getting so many donations that she was struggling to keep up with collecting them all on top of doing her job. Local hairdressers, the Hair Asylum, had heard about what was happening and offered to become an informal drop-off point for the donations. They just kept coming. But it didn’t stop at toys. People donated Amazon vouchers (Gillian is unable to accept monetary donations), furniture, dry food, toiletries, and a local childminder painted jungle murals on the walls.

Local businesses have offered their time and services. Ruby’s Scrumptious Cakes are requesting Christmas presents donations and are giving every resident an advent calendar and selection pack (regardless of their age), Majestic Oven Cleaning have donated Amazon Vouchers as well as their time, the Hair Asylum are giving residents free haircuts in addition to being a drop-off point for donations and high-profile local people such as Nina Cranstoun (Unorthodox Boxing) and her brother Tyber Cranstoun (The Dualers) have helped to spread the word and donate to the dry food/toiletries store.

But it isn’t just the response to Gillian’s post that no one could have imagined, it’s also the impact that the room has had on the residents. A brand-new giant sofa has become a place where people of all ages come to relax and talk about what is going on with them; their fears and hopes about the future, the things from their past that they want to move on from. Simple seasonal activities like pumpkin carving or biscuit decorating have resulted in people and families from a diverse range of backgrounds and circumstances, sitting around a table together. And for the first time that day, that week, that month, those people are connecting to others and doing something enjoyable. A soft play/sensory corner is planned for children on the autistic spectrum as well as children’s desks and chairs, so that children have somewhere they can do their homework and Arts and Crafts and Gillian is hopeful that people will donate to these too.

But the impact goes further than that. Thanks to the new Family Room, residents are talking to each other and connecting in ways they couldn’t when they were all in their own rooms. They are checking in with each other, making each other a cuppa, understanding when someone is having a bad day and knowing how to comfort them. In the words of one parent who felt completely isolated, “The playroom has saved my daughter and me from being stuck in our room. We come here every day to socialise with other parents and my daughter loves exploring and playing with all the toys. This room has saved me.” The Family Room is beginning to create a family.

Gillian said, “They say you are only ever two pay-slips away from homelessness. Things we take for granted like having a sofa or even a toothbrush are things that many of our residents don’t have – or maybe have never had – and they can make all the difference to them. To us it’s a sofa or a toothbrush, to them it makes life a bit more worth living, it’s self-worth – it’s hope. I am mind blown by the response and how far word has spread. One retired woman in Earl’s Court sends us crates full of baked beans or toilet rolls for residents – I can only imagine the lengths she goes to, to get them to us. But it doesn’t even have to be a donation or your time, the simple act of writing a card to one of our residents just saying, “I’m thinking of you, you can do this, you can get through this.” so that they know there are people on their side, can make all the difference. One of the residents has painted a tree mural on the wall of the Family room and we are adding children’s hand-prints as they come and go so we can see it grow and it can represent all the lives that have been changed here.”

If you would like to help Gillian make this a Christmas to remember for residents, you can contact Belle Grove 100 Mickleham Road Orpington BR5 2RJ 0203 096 1235, or the Hair Asylum 9 High Street, Orpington BR6 0JE 07547 609 998 (Ref GILL) or Ruby’s Scrumptious Cakes via her Facebook page where you can donate presents.

Latest Data: Today’s Tenants, Landlords and the Future of Lettings

After a year of lowest ebbs for landlords and tenants yet an increase in investment confidence by over 50% this quarter, it’s fair to say that this has been one of the most turbulent periods for the rental sector. The State of Lettings Report 2021 not only sheds the light on how we will move forwards but help us identify where the opportunities are?

What is The State of Lettings report?

For anyone who doesn’t know, the State of Lettings Report is a document, compiled by Reapit (Estate Agency Business Platform provider), breaking down the latest data on tenants, landlords and the rental market in the UK. Its statistics and insights are taken from landlords and tenants themselves. We’ve pulled out some key findings we think might be helpful to you …

A growing, more demanding market

Not only are more people renting, but more are renting long-term. For some this is because of barriers to homeownership but for others, such as the next generations of renters (millennials and generation Z) this is a lifestyle choice. According to the Office of National Statistics, 20% of the UK population are currently renters, but it is estimated that in just 20 years renters could outnumber homeowners. As such, tenants are viewing their rented homes as permanent homes and lockdown has prioritised a need for outdoor areas and more versatile living space. Today’s tenant, reasonably, wants communications with landlords or agencies that are instant and actions that are immediate.

What does today’s average tenant look like?

Demographically, tenants were spread out over most categories. The highest proportion of tenants were in the 25-34 age bracket, employed full-time. When it came to marital status they were fairly evenly split between single (35%), married (25%) and co-habiting (15%). Earnings data found that 35% had salaries of £12,500 – £29,999 while 25% earned £12,500 and under. Renters were evenly distributed throughout the UK with predictable clusters in London and the South where it is more expensive to buy.

What about today’s landlord?

Well, this is where things get a little more interesting. There was a curved trend in the ages of landlords, with fewer at the younger end of the scale (but some in the 18-25 bracket and some students) and the most in the middle peaking at 45-54 and declining again by 65+. Although there were more landlords than tenants in the higher earning brackets, they also clustered at the £12,500 – £29,999 income bracket and were working full-time. The majority of landlords have just one rental property. So, is the old narrative of landlords as high-earning and high-investing individuals being surpassed by a more modern tale of your average socio-economic homeowners becoming landlords through circumstance?

And what about your relationship with us?

Most landlords found their management agency through the three Rs: research, reputation and recommendation. We are pleased to say that this is largely the case for us, with most clients approaching us rather than the other way round. Established in 1988, we’ve built our organisation (which now has multiple locations and numerous divisions, overseen by our board of directors) on reputation. Landlords that don’t use a management agency stated cost-savings and a lack of control as the reasons why. We understand that these can feel like barriers to agency management for many landlords but actually our clients benefit from less risk and more cost-savings by taking advantage of our initiatives such as no-tenant-no-fee and guaranteed income schemes (where we cover legal and void periods). We also have dedicated property managers for each client so that they deal with the same person every time, helping them retain control over their property but without the hassle of maintenance, repairs and marketing.

The future

Millennials and Generation Z will be the first digitally native generations to enter the market. This will not only affect how they expect to communicate with landlords and agencies, but it’s also likely to have a significant impact on the market itself. Lockdown was the final push the UK needed to transition to remote working which means that future generations are less likely to need to live where they work. This opens up a world of possibilities for both tenants and landlords and it’s a brave new world we’re looking forward to being part of.

You can find out more about what we can do for you now by visiting https://www.orchard-shipman.com/. Alternatively call us on 0203 301 5993 or email us at enquiries@orchard-shipman.com.

Pinnacle Group acquires Orchard & Shipman

ANNOUNCED today, Pinnacle Group (Pinnacle), one of the UK’s leading multi-tenure residential service providers, is expanding its geographical footprint and service capability nationwide through the acquisition of residential and social housing specialists Orchard & Shipman. This acquisition will integrate the whole of Orchard & Shipman within Pinnacle, including their Registered Provider (Orchard & Shipman Homes), and will continue to be led by Chris Shipman, Executive Chairman.

Orchard & Shipman brings over 30 years’ experience and expertise in the provision of the highest quality residential management services to public and private sector landlords and portfolio owners nationwide.

With a mixed-tenure residential management portfolio of over 80,000 homes across the UK, the strategic acquisition of Orchard & Shipman further boosts Pinnacle’s already significant sector expertise and capability whilst benefitting existing as well as new customers and clients.

The deal immediately strengthens Pinnacle’s capacity to deliver step-change housing solutions. This includes delivery of the 49,000-home National Accommodation Management Services contract – secured by Pinnacle in June – on behalf of Defence Infrastructure Organisation (part of the Ministry of Defence). It also includes the £85m funding project, devised and secured by Orchard & Shipman in August in partnership with London Borough of Bromley, to provide much-needed permanent affordable homes and to manage them over a 50-year period.

Peregrine Lloyd, Group Chief Executive of Pinnacle Group, said of the acquisition: “I am delighted to able to announce this strategic acquisition for Pinnacle. Both companies have a long history as trusted housing service providers and a complementary client base across public and private sectors. We have shared values and heritage and look forward to meeting our collective goals of providing even better value, more service innovation and extra customer focus as we continue to grow under the Pinnacle umbrella.”

Chris Shipman, Executive Chairman of Orchard & Shipman, added: “I am delighted to be joining an organisation that has the same high standards and values we have striven to deliver over our 30 years in business and very confident that our customers and employees will be in safe hands. Our businesses have many complementary skills and I look forward to helping to deliver the exciting projects we already have in the pipeline.”

The Scottish Team That’s Climbing To The Top

It will be double celebrations for private rental specialists Orchard & Shipman as they raise vital funds for cancer charity, Maggie’s, by climbing to the summit of the highest mountain in Scotland, whilst also raising a glass to getting top Google ratings from their clients.

But first, we wanted to tell you a little bit about Maggie’s – a charity that is very close to their hearts – and why they are taking on the Ben Nevis challenge to raise vital funds for it.

Maggie’s – everyone’s home of cancer care

Anyone whose life has been affected by cancer – either personally or seeing its impact on someone close to them – will know that it can alter every single aspect of life. The range of cancer support that Maggie’s offer is phenomenal – from managing symptoms and side-effects to emotional and social support to practical advice on finances. Maggie’s have centres across Scotland and the UK where anyone affected by cancer can access free one-to-one support and information or simply meet with people in a friendly, relaxed environment who understand what they’re going through.

Maggie’s relies on fundraising and donations to ensure that their services remain free to anyone who needs them. With their support, £31.6 million in cancer benefits have been claimed by the people who need them, 96% of people say they felt less alone after visiting a centre and 98% said they felt more confident talking to their medical teams.

The team that’s rising to the challenge …

Mohsin Gani, Regional Lettings Manager along with Taylor Anderson, Property Manager, are representing Orchard & Shipman Scotland for the climb and are being joined by Director, Clair Chester and Operations Director, Michelle Bowler.

They have set a target of £1000 and have been tirelessly fundraising to achieve it, getting donations from everyone they know including friends and family, Taylor’s swim team and, of course, local landlords.

Mr & Mrs Whyte, Scotland – based landlord who has worked with Orchard & Shipman for 6 years, said, “The team has supported me over the years, so I was very happy to be able to support them. They are great at what they do, and they are also a lovely group of people to work with which makes such a difference. Maggie’s is important to so many families in the area and I would urge other landlords to donate – every little helps and it would be amazing if we could help them smash their target after such a difficult year for everyone.”

Climbing to the top!

The team has also been celebrating five-star Google reviews since launching its Rent Guarantee Scheme which aims to offer the most robust reassurance possible to private landlords in Scotland – providing up to 15 months guaranteed rent cover and up to £100,000 in legal fees for an agency fee of just 3%. This, combined with the team’s local market understanding, experience, strategic locations, long history in both the private and social sector and their dedicated property managers have been putting them at the top of the Google rankings.

Mohsin said, “I’m not going to lie, I have my worries about doing the climb – will the weather conditions be OK? Will we get to the summit in plenty of time to climb back down? Etc etc. But, having lost several loved-ones to cancer I also know that the challenge we’re taking on is nothing compared to what people affected by cancer go through every single day. It will be hard going but I’m looking at it as every step we take will be another person that Maggie’s can help.”

Taylor said, “Like Mo, I’m concerned about the weather conditions and also how slippery it may be on the climb down – I know how much he misses me if I have to take time off work so I need to watch my step! In all seriousness, to achieve our target of £1000 would be absolutely incredible and we are depending on people to share our fundraising page and really help us spread the word – we know the difference it would make to Maggie’s.”

Laura Boyd, Centre Fundraiser for Maggie’s said, “We are so delighted that Orchard & Shipman have chosen to fundraise for Maggie’s Dundee. As a local charity, we support over 9,000 people throughout Tayside who have cancer and their family and friends. We rely entirely on the generosity of our supporters, so this partnership will really help us provide vital cancer support in our community.”

The team will also be sharing photos and videos of the climb on the day itself via Twitter @OrchardShipman, Facebook Facebook.com/orchardandshipman and LinkedIn. To make a donation click here or please share this story via your social media channels to help them reach their target for Maggie’s.

How Private Landlords Can Help With The Housing Crisis

It is well documented that there is a shortage of social and affordable housing across the UK. With the total impact of covid on the housing sector still very much unknown, it is clear that issues such as overcrowding, rent arrears and evictions are very much on the rise, placing increased pressure on already stretched local authorities.

The most recent government report identifies that 68,250 English households approached councils for support between January and March 2021. With limited housing available, families who the local authority have a statutory duty towards will likely be placed in unsuitable and expensive nightly booked accommodation.

Nightly-booked accommodation, such as Bed and Breakfast, is not only costly to local authorities, but – as the thousands of families experiencing it right now, know – it creates daily stress and uncertainty that takes its toll. Research shows that the outcomes for adults and children living in this type of accommodation are poor, from academic attainment to physical and mental health.

There is no ‘one solution’ to the shortage of housing available to local authorities with many charities, and industry bodies campaigning for the government to take immediate action. In the interim, local authorities are reliant on securing good quality self-contained accommodation via the private rented sector. It is therefore surprising that many landlords are unaware of the benefits of letting their property via local authority schemes, which provides stability of income on their investment and helps support the ongoing homelessness crisis.

Registered provider of social housing and private lettings consultants, Orchard and Shipman, are the link between private landlords and the local authority.

Orchard and Shipman provide private landlords with a guaranteed rent agreement of up to five years, covering any void periods and take on full management of the property for no fee. Further benefits include full legal protection on any possession proceedings should these be required, providing further security to landlords who may have faced difficulty during the legislative changes imposed during the pandemic.

Giving families a home to call their own for up to five years in many cases provides enough stability for those to find employment, access community support services and even re-enter the private housing market – not to mention the huge positive impact on their health and their children’s education.

Orchard and Shipman have worked in partnership with the London Borough of Bromley since 2011 and recently launched a new campaign calling on private landlords to contact Orchard & Shipman and help provide families a permanent home.

For more information on the Guaranteed Rent Service visit our Guaranteed Rent Scheme web page.

Landlords In Scotland Offered Extended Rent Guarantee Scheme By Orchard And Shipman

As the SNP is lobbied to provide more support for private landlords post-Covid, private residential lettings specialists Orchard and Shipman urge landlords to take advantage of their rent guarantee scheme …

Throughout the pandemic, private landlords have been working with the Government to ensure that struggling tenants are offered support and that, with the lifting of the eviction ban, evictions are a last resort. But in the current climate, a tenant in arrears very quickly becomes a landlord in financial difficulty.

Rent guarantee schemes have been buoying landlords and the Scottish private rental market for some time, but private letting experts Orchard and Shipman’s service is different – perhaps because Orchard and Shipman is different. With a history in social housing, the private lettings teams strategically based in Edinburgh, Dundee, Inverness and the Borders, have a unique understanding of supporting tenants. But with clients such as the Ministry of Defence, over 30 years of working with private landlords due to being established in 1988 and a growing team, they have positioned themselves as the local agency for many of their clients thanks to their unique understanding of the local markets.

Their Rent Guarantee Scheme provides full market rent cover for up to 15 months in exchange for 3% fee plus VAT. The scheme also covers all legal costs and landlords have a dedicated property manager who knows both them and the tenants. There is no excess and it doesn’t affect premiums.

Mohsin Gani, Regional Lettings Manager, Orchard and Shipman, said, “The Government are offering support to tenants affected during the pandemic but anyone who has worked in the private lettings market as long as we have knows that the need for support far pre-dates Covid.

“Most Rent Guarantee schemes are for just a few months, don’t cover the full market value or don’t cover legal costs – or if they provide landlords with that level of cover they are made to pay for it in agency fees. Our fees are incredibly low and there is no excess for landlords to pay. We wanted to launch a Rent Guarantee Service that was robust enough to give complete peace-of-mind to our landlords at minimum cost to them and, ultimately, boost confidence in the market.

“Due to our experience in the social housing sector, we are uniquely placed to help tenants too – signposting them to the support services that can give them financial help and advice. We are pleased to say that it has been working brilliantly for everyone involved – our landlords are more positive, our tenants have more time to get the support they need and our teams are actually able to make a real difference to the people we work with.”

To find out more about Orchard and Shipman’s Rent Guarantee scheme exclusively for private landlords in Scotland and for all new business enquiries, contact Mohsin.Gani@orchard-shipman.com or call 0131 553 0053.

£85 Million New Initiative For Affordable Housing

In the first initiative of its kind, an £85 million approach to funding for affordable housing with variable tenures that can last from one day to a lifetime is launched today by Orchard & Shipman.

Working with specialist advisors Revenue & Capital, the property management group has secured £85 million to provide up to 300 affordable housing units in a Joint Venture with Bromley Council.

With funding provided by a major institutional investor and Bromley Council, Orchard & Shipman will be responsible for sourcing, buying and then managing the properties on a fully insuring and repairing basis for 50 years after which ownership will revert to Bromley Council. These properties will be returned at no cost to the local authority.

“This new funding initiative aims to speed up the urgently needed acquisition of affordable housing for those who find themselves homeless and in temporary accommodation with good quality permanent homes” said Chris Shipman, Chief Executive of the Orchard & Shipman Group. “It has long been known and understood that bad housing is a major contributor to poor health, poor education and poor employment opportunities and the Covid pandemic is just making this worse. As a registered provider of affordable housing this is exactly the type of social project we want to be involved in.”

Councillor Peter Morgan, Bromley’s Executive Councillor for Renewal, Recreation and Housing said, “We are excited at the potential to increase our housing supply which will not only provide much needed housing for residents we need to support but is also another example of how careful financial management can go hand in hand with delivering housing. This is positive news for those residents who may find themselves in temporary accommodation for longer than ideal, and for council taxpayers.”

Said John Knevett, Chairman of Orchard & Shipman Homes Ltd and previously Chief Executive of A2 Housing, “With the traditional housing association sector retrenching, the market is in desperate need of new entrants and new funding models with the right long-term motives and good quality services. Novel creative models like this are perfect to help add to the numbers of additional affordable homes.”

Richard Walsh of Revenue and Capital said, “We welcome Bromley Council’s and Orchard & Shipman’s approach to funding social housing stock and are on hand to support other Councils with the same market leading and flexible funding solution”

Established in 1988 Orchard & Shipman are a specialist housing group and have been working with the London Borough of Bromley for over 10 years. The Group has long-established relationships with Local Authorities in Scotland and England and also manage properties on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.

Capture Housing And Orchard & Shipman Major Step Forward For The Affordable Housing Market

A new scheme to boost the supply of affordable homes by one of the country’s leading registered providers of social housing and an Isle of Wight based affordable housing provider was finalised yesterday. Buyers into the scheme can acquire between 60% and 75% of the 125 year lease of the property. Competitive mortgages for this type of purchase have been organised.

Orchard & Shipman Homes Ltd and Capture Housing have completed this scheme in Ryde providing 15 shared ownership flats and houses. Said Chris Shipman, Chairman of the Orchard & Shipman Group, “This is an important development for those trying to get on to the first rung of the housing ladder, the step that is so difficult for so many.”

The Ryde scheme has been developed on behalf of Capture Housing by Captiva Homes and provides 15 properties in a mix of 2 and 3 bedroom homes with open market values ranging from £175,000 To £245,000. Therefore, prices start at £105,000 for a two bed coach house.

Said Peter Griffiths, Director of Capture Housing, “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Orchard & Shipman as they have worked with us to deliver lower costs for the rental part of the shared ownership than would normally be the case, resulting in making the homes more affordable for island residents.”

Added Chris Shipman, “As a registered provider of social housing for a number of local authorities throughout the country, we have been looking for new ways to speed up the provision of affordable homes so we are delighted to be able to work with Capture on this scheme.”

7-Year Housing Contract Renewed For The Defence Infrastructure Organisation


Orchard & Shipman have been appointed to deliver sub-letting services on behalf of Pinnacle Group as part of its contract to deliver the Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s (DIO) National Accommodation Management Service (NAMS). This service supports the DIO to reduce its long-term operational costs by efficiently letting surplus accommodation to private tenants including military veterans.

As Pinnacle’s delivery partner, Orchard & Shipman announced today that for a 7-year contract period they will continue to be responsible for lettings and management to over 1500 DIO-owned properties across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This reflects the success of Orchard & Shipman’s existing provision of these services since 2016.

The Orchard & Shipman operating model which has underpinned this service success divides the country into 124 site areas overseen by a team of regional property managers. Tenant support and administration is operated through a centralised hub. Tenants include over 100 military veterans.

Said Chris Shipman, Chairman of the Orchard and Shipman Group, “Obviously we are delighted at the renewal of this contract as part of our wider strategic relationship with Pinnacle Group. And the real recognition of the very successful working relationship our property teams have established with this large number and variety of tenants since Orchard & Shipman began providing services in 2016.”

The new contract will begin from the spring of 2022 and will be operated on behalf of Pinnacle Group.