An Oxfordshire housing charity is seeking to rent 60 homes across the county before the end of November.  Its Private Landlord Scheme guarantees rent payments throughout the two to five year leases on offer and the charity will pay bills, provide maintenance and guarantee the properties’ condition on return of the keys.

The charity Response, which has been delivering housing and support to vulnerable people in Oxfordshire since the 1960s, has just won two Oxfordshire County Council contracts to accommodate and support young people in the area.  This substantially increases its housing provision across the county and extends its work with 16 to 24 year olds.  For owners of 2 to 4 bedroom properties who qualify, it means uninterrupted rent for a minimum of two years and no management worries.

Kate Clemmow, Director of Housing and Property at Response comments “This is a golden opportunity for landlords in these uncertain times.  We are offering exceptional benefits to those who meet our requirements. We know a lot of rental property owners are very worried about the future and this will give many the reassurance of guaranteed income and stress-free maintenance.  It’s a lifeline for landlords – and for the young people they will be helping”.

Oxford landlord Mr Christopher, 47, has been renting out one of his properties to the charity since 2016.  “From the moment I handed the keys over’ he says ‘ I’ve had nothing to do except receive rent, on time and without a break.   Response dealt with HMO licensing and they take care of all the maintenance and bills. it’s been a very good experience’.  Mr Christopher, who used to work in London for UNICEF,  says ‘I’ve always had a strong sense of wanting to give back, to help people in need.  One way I can do this is by providing a home for families or young people who might otherwise struggle”.

The landlord is unaware of who has lived at his three bedroom maisonette in Headington over the last four years and has only once been told of an issue.  “There was a burst pipe which caused a leak.  Response called me to say that they were dealing with it and invited me to inspect the works when they had it repaired.  It was all fine – and the house is clearly being well looked after”.

His advice to other Oxford landlords is to find out if they are eligible for the Private Landlord Scheme.  “Especially at the moment when the property market is so uncertain – and when rental income can be unsafe.  This scheme makes Response the tenant, so your rental income is guaranteed.”

Housing and Property Manager Richard Innes runs the property maintenance team at Response, a crew of decorators, carpenters and other trade professionals available 24/7 to deal with problems.  He says “Our landlords need to know that their properties are in safe hands.  Some of our maintenance team have been with Response for years.  They’ve seen every repair problem going and they rise to a different challenge every day.  It’s the kind of back up that’s not usually available with regular rentals.”

Landlords also get the promise of a property returned in good condition at the end.  Clemmow explains “Response guarantees to return the property in the same condition as when we took it over.  In some cases, the properties have actually been improved throughout the tenancy.”

Individual properties will be chosen across Oxfordshire to each accommodate 3 or 4 young people.  The residents will be supported during their tenancies by Oxfordshire County Council or Oxfordshire Youth.  The closing date for landlords who think they may be eligible for the Private Landlord Scheme is 30th November.  Further information and application at https://www.response.org.uk/pls/ or email homes@response.org.uk