Settled Housing Solutions, who recently launched a range of products and services to help local authorities and the private rented sector meet the challenges of the incoming Localism Act and Welfare Reform Agenda have carried out a survey on how effective SettledSure Insurance Policies could be in cutting costs for local authorities who took it up and thus for central government.
This would come at a time when local authorities face a reduction of 28% in formula grant funding over the next three years.
“We work with quite a number of local authorities already”, said Alan Elborough, Co-Director of Settled Housing Solutions (SHS), on a range of matters. We approached them to see how the SettledSure Insurance policies would help in their work of placing people with private landlords”.
The unique range of Housing Benefit insurance policies have been developed over the past 18 months in conjunction with Coversure Insurance Services and also local authorities, individual landlords and letting agents.
We believe the policies address a major barrier that currently prevents more landlords working with local authorities as the policies safeguard a landlord’s business interests by protecting them from rent arrears, legal fees and malicious damage caused by the tenant to the landlord’s property.
SHS gathered information from 61 local authorities across the UK on how much they could save by using SettledSure rather than the more costly alternative incentives they currently use with landlords. The results showed that the local councils involved could save £3.98 million per year if they opted for SettledSure which meant a cut in costs of £65,245 per local authority.
Taking the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG) figure of 353 local councils in England if SettledSure was used by them all the Government could save £23 million next year, which could lead to potential savings of £115 million over five years.
As demand for accommodation in the private-rented sector is driven upwards by a variety of factors there will be a need for an increase in funds to incentivise private landlords and SHS believe that the savings to government implicit in their SettledSure Policies would therefore increase.
Alan Elborough continued “When we did our enquiry into this area we asked local authorities a series of questions. These covered how many households they have placed in the private-rented sector in 2011, how many they planned to place in such accommodation next year, and how much per household they spent on landlord incentives to secure such accommodation.
We used these facts to demonstrate how they could cut their costs by using our SettledSure policies. No one disputed our findings.
In its latest report on housing the Joseph Rowntree Foundation stated “More stable private-rented tenancies might be achieved through smarter incentives for landlords. That encapsulates what we are trying to do. We see SettledSure as part of the process whereby the sector adjusts its practices to meet current needs”.
SettledSure Insurance Policies is a trading style of Coversure Insurance Services (Kennington) in Association with Settled Housing Solutions. Settled Housing Solutions is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Coversure Insurance Services (Kennington). RIA Consulting Ltd t/as Coversure Insurance Services (Kennington) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
Settled Housing Solutions are the leading practitioners in building successful partnerships between the private rented sector and front-line local government services. The primary aim of their service is to harness the potential of the private rented sector market so it can play an important role in providing affordable housing for those on low incomes.