Based in city centre of Glasgow, Homes For Good is Scotland’s first social enterprise letting agency.
This organisation seeks to place ethics and tenants at the centre of its business model, while at the same time generating rental income for their Landlords.
Incorporated in 2013 as a Community Interest Company (CIC) limited by shares, Homes for good has three central social objectives:
- To improve quality of privately rented homes and their management.
- To offer tailored support of vulnerable households to access quality private rented homes and sustain their tenancies.
- To lead by example within the private rented sector, influencing policy and practices.
Homes for Good was set up by award-winning entrepreneur Susan Aktemel, the founder of another successful national social enterprise known as Impact Arts. Susan has also been a landlord for the last twenty years and grew a portfolio of properties with her family. So the idea of a letting agency run as a social enterprise came about because she “couldn’t find a good letting agent”, as there was a lot of bad practice: they didn’t treat landlords fairly nor their tenants well. This bad experiences gave Susan the idea to set up her own organisation that ‘thinks social’ in every aspect of its operation and that functions for the benefit of each of its stakeholders, including: staff, suppliers partners and tenants.
When doing the market research for Homes For Good, Susan found a number of recently published studies that disclosed tenant dissatisfaction with letting agents and landlord dissatisfaction with letting agents. So she was able to just take those ingredients and do the opposite.
Susan also wanted to make sure that Homes for Good was a catalyst for people who would struggle to get houses, to get quality in the private rented sector. There are lots of people on benefits or low incomes who can’t get houses with a housing association or with a council, so they turn to the private sector, and they get quite a rough deal because most – two thirds to three quarters – of letting agents won’t accept people who get housing benefit. So what that means is that people on housing benefit are then limited to the bottom of the market, the poorer quality. Homes for Good wanted to just operate in a different way.