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Case Study

With multiple properties funded, Golden Lane Housing is a key partner for Assetz Exchange in delivering supported housing investments.

In this case study Abdul Latif, Director of Development, and Emily Collinson, Head of Development at Golden Lane Housing, discuss their partnership with James Tedrake, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Assetz Exchange.

Creating supported accommodation with Golden Lane Housing

Golden Lane Housing (GLH) was established as an independent national charity by Royal Mencap Society in 1998 to help tackle the problems that people with a learning disability face when it comes to finding a home.  They provide supported living housing for nearly 2,200 people in 1,106 properties across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In January 2015, GLH became a Registered Provider, which provides additional security for existing tenants and enables them to offer a wider range of housing for even more people with a learning disability and autism.

How did the partnership start?

AL: “Previously, we undertook a lot of private sector leases to provide supported housing, but as the buy to let climate changed for landlords, it was clear that it was becoming increasingly difficult to find enough partners from this source to fulfil our needs.  We therefore reviewed our rent policy and explored other avenues, including Assetz Exchange.”

JT: “Golden Lane Housing were keen to nail down a framework for our lease arrangements at the outset, which has been the cornerstone of our partnership.  It makes it easy for both parties to assess and agree on properties and lease agreements for each supported housing need.  Spending that time initially to agree on what looks like a win-win for all parties has been incredibly important as we scale up the work with them.”

What sort of supported housing did you need to fund?

EC: “Everyone with a learning disability has the right to suitable housing they can build their lives around, but sadly this isn’t the reality for many – something GLH works hard every day to change. We get a huge amount of requests for supported living accommodation: referrals from local authorities, requirements from tender processes, requests from care providers and our partnership work with NHS England.  This year we are aiming to provide 250 new people with supported housing.  We are also having to find alternatives for those already in accommodation where the lease is coming to an end and possibly where the landlord wishes to sell the property.  This last need has been something Assetz Exchange has really helped with.  With their support, we’ve managed to allow several individuals to stay in their own home by investors agreeing to purchase the property from the landlord, or quickly found and purchased a suitable property in the local area.”

JT: “So far, we have completed property purchases on a wide variety of housing – from bungalows and new builds to Victorian terraced properties – geographically located all over England.  All of these have been identified by the GLH care team as the most suitable to match the needs of the occupants. We have also been able to offer them a show home, that we previously purchased and leased back to the developer, that had come to the end of its lease.  That particular one was great to do as it helped two sisters to be able to continue to live together in their local area, and the majority of investors were keen to sell and re-lease the property quickly to GLH to make this happen, so it felt like a win-win all round.”

How do you work together?

JT: “Golden Lane Housing will normally identify a property that suits the needs of the individual or group they are working with, specify any work that will be required to make it fit for purpose, and we then look at the viability of the project together and agree the lease terms.  Most of our leases with Golden Lane Housing are 5 years with an initial break, where they cover voids and internal repairs and maintenance.  Once we have evaluated the property and agreed a price that is a good representation of its market value, we ask our premium investors to fund the initial purchase and once completed, the property goes on to our external exchange.  Golden Lane Housing then undertakes any work required prior to starting the tenancy.”

AL: ”We’ve found James and the whole team at Assetz Exchange incredibly easy to work with.  They’re personable, always at the end of the phone and we always get a speedy response to anything.  We get through the feasibility and approval process really quickly, which is so important in a fast moving housing market where we don’t want individuals to miss out on a property that meets their needs.”

What has been the impact of these supported living investments?

EC: “There is an increasing expectation, particularly within the new generation of individuals with learning difficulties, that to live independently is a right they should absolutely have.  It used to be the case that their only choice was to continue to live with their family or go into residential care.  As a society, we now know that either of these solutions are not ideal, but finding tailored supported housing for those that either want to live with a few people or own their own is not easy within the current funding framework.  Working with partners like Assetz Exchange unlocks this opportunity and I can honestly say that, in the time we’ve been working with Assetz Exchange, they’ve enabled us to help more people than we would normally have been able to, which is fantastic.”

AL: “In many cases we’re also delivering a more cost effective alternative.  A report carried out jointly by Mencap and Housing LIN in 2018 found the overall costs for a person living in specialised supported housing, which includes housing, support and care, is an average of £1,569 per week compared an average of £1,706 per week for residential care and an average of £3,500 per week for a hospital inpatient.”

What are your plans to work together for the future?

AL: “We currently have projects in the pipeline beyond April this year and are also talking about future possibilities for the partnership.  A key area of activity for us over the coming year will be to try and increase the number of units we can provide for individuals to live in single occupancy supported accommodation, in clusters of apartments, for example.  Traditionally, this has been a much harder type of housing to provide, but there is an increasing demand for it from the learning disability community.  We’re therefore currently having discussions with James about projects that are of a greater magnitude.”

JT: “Currently, there is huge investor appetite for these property investments.  A registered housing provider with a strong track record of delivering high quality supported living accommodation like Golden Lane Housing is an attractive tenant.  Coupled with leases that can support decent inflation linked yields, with voids and internal repair and maintenance covered, they’re solid property investments.  When you then add the opportunity to add impact to investments and retail investors can see exactly where their money is going and the difference it’s making, you can understand why they are popular.  We’re very much looking forward to continuing our partnership with Golden Lane Housing and feel happy that we’re making a tangible difference with this work.”

We currently work with charities and other leading supported housing providers to source, lease and fund social housing. We’d love to talk to any organisation that has a need to raise capital for a property purchase in this sector.  Contact us at info@assetzexchange.co.uk  Tel: +44 (0) 3330 119830

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