A Guide to Keeping Affordable Housing Residents Happy

Developments under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act (also known as S106) provide affordable housing and infrastructure to the local community, in agreement with the local council. Affordable social housing is mutually beneficial to both the developers/investors and the local community and council.

As a developer or investor, you can retain ownership of your S106 properties by working with a Registered Provider to negotiate and manage the property on your behalf.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government updated the Charter for Social Housing Residents social housing white paper to detail how the government will help keep social housing residents happy. This includes ensuring they “are safe, are listened to, live in good quality homes, and have access to redress when things go wrong.”

What can developers and investors do to make sure their social housing residents are happy?

1. Provide a safe, secure, and good-quality home

Properties should be built with the safety and security of the residents at the forefront. This includes fire safety and prevention methods (with tighter requirements following the Grenfell Tower tragedy), working door locks and well-sealed walls and windows, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and more.

Working to and beyond the Government requirements and regulations will ensure the physical safety of your social housing residents, as well as ease any safety anxiety or concerns that could arise.

As the property owner, you’re responsible for dealing with repairs, maintenance, and other recurring services that contribute to the safety and wellbeing of the residents. Whether you arrange this directly or through an agency, the onus is on you.

Have you added affordable homes to your property investment portfolio and are dealing with the new responsibilities that come with being a landlord? Read our blog post for tips on becoming a first-time landlord to help you through this difficult yet exciting time.

2. Keep in contact with the tenants/tenancy management provider

Your residents should be able to have communication with their landlord, either directly or through an agency. As the owner of the property, it is up to you how you wish to proceed with tenancy management – will you manage them directly, or through an external service? Whichever you choose, make sure that you’re as transparent and helpful to your tenants as possible.

You’ll be held accountable for where your money is going, whether repairs and maintenance are getting carried out (and in a timely fashion), and how well you uphold safety standards.

3. Act with kindness, empathy, and respect

Tenant complaints and problems can be frustrating, but it’s important to deal with issues with empathy and respect towards your tenants.

There are Government schemes in place to assist tenants with complaints and problems with their landlords. However, it’s a good idea to minimise the need for these assistive services by dealing with problems promptly and fairly, and treating your social housing residents with empathy, kindness, and respect. Give your residents a voice and listen to their needs and concerns; having a good relationship with your tenants will make your life easier and improve the overall happiness of your residents.

If you’re struggling with managing your affordable housing or you’re selling properties at a loss, there is a better option: Orchard & Shipman’s Affordable Homes Management Service. Retain ownership of your S106 properties, gain greater control over developments, and receive quality estate management.

Asset Management Awareness Month – March 2021

March brings us Asset Management Awareness Month, highlighting the importance of good asset and property management practices for businesses and property owners. At Orchard & Shipman, we know the importance of managing your assets responsibly, smart planning for investments, and maximising efficiency in the property investment market.

Property management focuses on the logistical, daily responsibilities of property investment, whereas asset management is more dedicated to adding value to property investments. A combined approach – property asset management – is a comprehensive strategy to increase the value of your investments while also reducing overall costs and maintaining efficiency.

“What do I need to consider for my property asset management plan?”

The best property asset management plans are well-rounded, comprehensive, and target the main aspects of property investment. It’s important to have a clear, long-term strategy to improve efficiency and avoid trial and error mistakes. Key parts of a good plan will include:

  • Clearly defining your business goals/objectives with regard to investment – what do you want to achieve? How will you achieve your goals? What do you need to do to maximise your investment potential?
  • Financial requirements and limitations – do you have a strict budget? Are you allocating budget to cyclical and non-cyclical fees and costs? Will working with agencies save you money in the long-term?
  • Planning for the long-term – how will rent arrears affect you? How long can you afford a property to be vacant? How will you source suitable tenants?
  • Investment protection – make sure that your money is insured, giving you peace of mind that your money is safe and protected.

It’s also good to consider the diversity of your property portfolio; diverse real estate portfolios allow for larger income streams, involvement in multiple markets, and the suitability of properties for you/your company. While property investment can be rewarding, it can also come with large costs which could leave you out of pocket, including emergency repair costs, legal fees, and other unpredictable costs. Well-researched asset management accounts for ad-hoc fees and recurring high costs, and takes into consideration both the short and long-term challenges that may be faced. Furthermore, your investment portfolio should align with your business goals and objectives; it’s great to aim high but be realistic and strategic in your approach.

Good property asset management means strategising to maximise income stream, profits, and efficiency. If you own affordable homes but you’re managing/selling them at a loss, there is a better option: Orchard & Shipman’s Affordable Homes Management Service.

As a Registered Provider, Orchard & Shipman are authorised to manage social housing developed under Section 106 agreements made with local authorities. This means you can retain ownership of your affordable properties, which are a fundable and saleable asset, leading to an income stream that increases over time and builds long-term value.

Orchard & Shipman will assume full ownership risk for your affordable new homes, reducing the financial burden on you derived from tenants in rent arrears, void periods, maintenance, and cyclical repairs. The Affordable Homes Management service also includes tenancy management, estate management, and greater control over placemaking, offering a great all-around solution for property investors to achieve their investment goals.

Consider using the Affordable Homes Management Service as part of your property asset management plan.

Affordable Homes Management Case Study: Haywards Heath

Orchard & Shipman is a long-established private and social sector Housing Manager with a UK-wide property management team. We are a Registered Provider eligible to manage affordable housing provided under Section 106 agreements made with local authorities.

Section 106 affordable homes require a Registered Provider to manage the property, but not necessarily to own it. To help developers/investors who are interested in retaining ownership of Section 106 properties, we offer a range of bespoke services to suit the needs of our clients.

From tenancy and property management through to assuming full ownership risk – including rent arrears, voids, maintenance, and cyclical repairs – Orchard & Shipman can help you achieve your long-term investment goals.

Case Study: Fairfax Properties, Haywards Heath

Fairfax Properties are a well-established medium-sized developer of new homes, providing high-quality schemes throughout the South East. Their reputation for quality, reliability, and excellent customer service led to growth wherein they sought to develop their investment portfolio further with affordable house schemes.

Fairfax chose Orchard & Shipman to act as their Registered Provider for a portfolio of long-term build-to-rent investment of affordable homes in Haywards Heath under the Section 106 legislation.

How did we help Fairfax Properties?

As part of our Affordable Homes Management service, Orchard & Shipman managed the tenancies, the relationship and nomination procedures with the local council, and met the requirements set out by the Regulator for Social Housing for Fairfax Properties’ development of affordable new homes.

Our management service is tailored to meet the exact needs of each client and each development. For Fairfax, their service solution involved: appointing a Contracts Director; finalising the Nominations Agreement with the Council and the client; advising on affordable rental price levels; preparing tenancy documentation and procedures; and creating a tenancy management plan and submitting this plan to the Council.

What did Fairfax Properties think of our service?

Fairfax Properties benefitted from quality estate management and greater control of the development’s public realm and placemaking by using our services.

A representative from Fairfax Properties provided the following testimonial regarding working choosing the Orchard & Shipman Affordable Homes Management service:

“We selected Orchard & Shipman because they demonstrated the commercial efficiency you get from a good private organisation, combined with the experience and caring approach of a social housing manager. We are confident that they have the same approach to excellent customer service and we feel that our reputation is safe in their hands.”

Why choose Orchard & Shipman?

We pride ourselves on our knowledge, expertise, and experience, as well as our kind and caring approach to working with clients and organisations, with a strong focus on providing a service that supports our tenants and safeguards the reputation and investment of our landlords.

With over 30 years of portfolio management experience, we believe that we provide our clients with the best possible property management service for their affordable homes. Our clients receive end-to-end support and advice from our nationwide property management professionals.

Orchard & Shipman’s professional Affordable Homes Management services can help you on your way to the long-term managed investment of owning appreciating, fundable, and saleable Section 106 housing.

Affordable Homes Management: There Is A Better Option!

Are you selling your affordable homes at a loss? There is a better option!

Planning obligations under Section 106 (S106) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 are often used to secure affordable housing and/or financial contributions to provide affordable housing or infrastructure. In most circumstances, developers sell their S106 properties at substantial discounts to Registered Providers (RP) of social housing.

Did you know that you can often retain ownership of your S106 properties, creating an excellent long-term managed investment? S106 properties are not legally required to be owned by an RP, only managed by an RP. This helps out developers and investors who are interested in retaining ownership of their S106 properties.

What is the affordable home service?

Orchard & Shipman is a long-established private and social sector housing manager with a UK-wide property management team and 30 years of portfolio management experience. As a Registered Provider, we are authorised to manage affordable housing, including S106 properties. Managing S106 properties through an RP allows developers/investors to retain ownership of their properties, leading to higher returns on investment and a broader, more successful residential property portfolio.

What are the benefits of using the affordable home service?

There are many benefits to investing in S106 property using affordable homes management services, such as…

Building a property portfolio

Get started with or expand your residential investment portfolio using the affordable home service to secure S106 property. Large-scale build-to-rent affordable property investments boost your portfolio and profit, as well as benefitting the local community (in accordance with Section 106) by providing rented housing. It is extra beneficial to provide housing in in-demand areas, particularly in student-populated towns if student renters are part of your target market.

Increasing your income stream

You’ll benefit from ownership of an appreciating, fundable, and saleable asset. Our affordable homes service can help you achieve a steady rental income, which increases over time as you make more money with the property value increases year-on-year. If/when the time comes to sell your property in the future, affordable housing offers a higher return on investment.

Development management and maintenance

Using affordable homes management, you’ll benefit from quality estate management and greater control of the developments’ public realm and placemaking. Orchard & Shipman will support you every step of the way, including helping with S106 negotiation, drawing on 30 years of property management experience. We offer a range of bespoke services to suit the needs of our clients from tenancy and property management, to assuming full ownership risks (such as rent arrears, voids, maintenance, and cyclical repairs).

Maintain peace of mind knowing that Orchard & Shipman is a long-established, ARLA-qualified Registered Provider of social housing, regulated by Government organisation Homes England. We know what we’re doing when it comes to all things property management and offering a bespoke service designed around your requirements as a developer/investor.

Control who is involved in property development

Stay in charge of your property and gain complete control over who is involved in the development, giving you peace of mind. Whenever you feel unsure, Orchard & Shipman is available with support and advice from locally-based property management specialists.