Do you have a spare room you aren’t using? Would you like to make some money and help someone in need at the same time?
In a joint scheme run by Suffolk Coastal District Council and Solo Housing, single people in need of affordable accommodation are being matched up with householders with a spare bedroom.
The ‘Lodgings Service’ scheme, which aims to increase access to affordable accommodation for single people by supporting local people to become lodgings landlords, ran throughout 2017/18 and has now been extended into the current financial year, to enable more lodgings bed spaces to be secured.
Suffolk Coastal householders with a spare room are being asked to consider whether they could become Lodgings Landlords. Support and information for new landlords will be provided by Solo Housing, including information on the rights and responsibilities of both landlord and lodger; advice on health and safety and other relevant regulations as well as a home visit. Solo will also provide the landlord with template documentation, advice about rent setting, collection of payments and most importantly, discuss with landlords about who they may like to share their home with to provide the best match between landlord and lodger.
Those in need of accommodation will be referred to the Lodgings Service by the Council and other agencies. A detailed assessment is then carried out, by Solo Housing, into the person’s needs.
Cllr Richard Kerry, Suffolk Coastal’s Cabinet Member for Housing said: “Many people can find themselves in need of accommodation as a result of a relationship breakdown, relocation to a new area, bereavement or ill health. By becoming a Lodgings Landlord, householders can make a real difference to local people who may otherwise struggle to find accommodation.”
Solo Housing’s Chief Executive, Carolyn Howell said, ‘We are extremely pleased to be extending our longstanding partnership with Suffolk Coastal so that we can help more single people. Our model is now well established and provides mutual benefit for both for those who would like to rent out a room, perhaps to increase their income or to have someone else in the house and at the same time helping someone who is looking for affordable accommodation’.
In 2017/18, the Lodgings Service maintained or secured 51 lodging spaces in the Suffolk Coastal area.
To find out more about joining the Lodgings Service as a landlord, please visit www.solohousing.org or telephone 01379 640250.
Testimonial from Mrs L, a Lodgings Landlord in Suffolk Coastal:
“Do you have a spare room? This simple question which I saw in Coastline just before Christmas challenged me to respond to try to help in some small way. I had read about the homelessness sweeping the country, and had been concerned that many people were finding themselves in trouble through a variety of circumstances, especially high rents and shortage of affordable housing of any kind. Like many others, I live on my own, and no longer need my three bedrooms. I phoned Steve, the Solo Housing Lodgings Officer, and he came round to approve the spare room in my house and offer advice and information. Kitchen and bathroom facilities would be shared. He explained that it was important to find a suitable person to come, and it might take time.
“A few weeks later my prospective tenant arrived, to see the room and to explain how a thirty year old man had come to be homeless, through a succession of problems. He was actively looking for work, and had experience and skills he could use. Transport was a potential problem, with no regular bus service, but Steve secured money through a charity to buy a bike to take him to his work.
“Unexpectedly we heard of a possibility of a good job with prospects just five miles down the road. After a successful interview he has received a contract and his new job will start soon. This has been a long wait for him, but soon he will be starting full time work. The affordable rent for my room has enabled him to avoid homelessness in the short term. It also provides me with a little extra tax free income which is welcome. Once he is fully employed he will eventually be able to move on, and I shall hopefully be able to take in someone else to avert a crisis.
“During this process we both appreciate very much the help we have received from Steve, the Lodgings Officer. There is a simple agreement that Notice can be given on either side if there is a problem of any kind. I am so pleased to be able to offer some help to a person at a difficult time in their life, and will be thrilled if I see him able to turn his life around.”