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.
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.