Living Rents (Hastings), a wholly-owned subsidiary of WRNV manages our residential flats which we rent out to people who have a housing need, a local connection, enthusiasm for our collaborative ethos and are willing contribute to our buildings and the wider community. Living Rents currently manages 11 properties, mostly in the White Rock area of Hastings but also in St Leonards.
We work with Hastings Borough Council, Adult Social Care and other local support organisations to find tenants for our properties.
All our rents have been set in line with fair local market rents. These rents are then capped one year after the completion of the renovation to allow more certainty over the operating costs. After that, rents rise each year in September by inflation in line with RPI.
Setting a capped rent that is fair and stays fair is complicated. We check local earnings using the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings with the aim to ensure that our rents remain at 25-40% of local median earnings.
We welcome applications from a diverse range of people and want to give our homes to people who need them. There are many reasons why people need a capped rent home including, but not limited to, homelessness, not able to rent privately due to claiming benefits, restricted income or not able to prove stable income, mental health issues barring the person from holding a secure tenancy independently and the bedroom tax.
We accept tenants who claim housing benefit and those who have a support or social worker to assist them to find a secure tenancy.
We ask everyone about their connection to Hastings. Our homes are for people who are either from Hastings or have a strong connection to Hastings, like having family or close friends living here already.
We ask all our prospective tenants what they think about the neighbourhood, our buildings and our ethos. We want to find tenants who would enjoy and benefit from living in our buildings.
Our buildings depend upon everyone pulling their weight and people working well together. We ask prospective tenants what skills what they can bring to our buildings and/or the neighbourhood – which might be that they are willing to volunteer their time rather than a specific skill.
Living Rents has never charged our tenants any fees to let a property from us and we strongly supported and welcomed the Tenant Fees Act. Regardless of any changes in legislation, we never have and never will charge fees.
We have a diverse range of tenants from all kinds of backgrounds and different walks of life. For privacy reasons, the below case studies exclude names and other identifying marks.
… is a below retirement age person with learning difficulties and mental health issues
They used to live in a flat suffering from dilapidations and were manipulated by their landlord to put up with extremely poor housing
conditions such as no kitchen or bathroom. They had been on the Borough Councils housing waiting list for some years but the true extent of the dilapidations the tenant was living with was unknown at the time.
Living Rents worked with Hastings Borough Council Housing enforcement to secure alternative accommodation with us and we have been proactively working with the tenant to support them to live independently by encouraging social interaction with neighbours.
… was long term sick and alcohol dependant struggling to find somewhere to live while claiming housing benefit. They planned to return to work when they got better.
Living Rents supported them with social interaction with neighbours and professional support to reduce or stop drinking. They engaged fully with all the support we offered and stopped drinking completely.
… was unemployed and previously homeless who could not find anywhere affordable to live and was relying on sofa surfing.
They had suffered mental health issues as a result of being homeless were a barrier to returning to stable work. Living Rents has
supported with encouragement to seek medical help for depression and
anxiety and 6 months after tenancy started they have transitioned into part-time work.
How to apply?
When a property becomes available we advertise on Right Move, our Social media accounts, to our waiting list and ask Hastings Borough Council for referrals. If you would like to be added to our waiting list please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01424 230222. Properties do not come up very often but we are actively working to build more.