The hallmarks of the housing crisis are well known by now: a lack of affordable properties, with what’s left squalid and low-quality, while other homes sit empty. But a Glasgow letting agent is cutting through the Gordian knot holding people in homelessness, and has provided homes for 1,000 people in the process.
Since being founded in 2013, Homes for Good has been on a mission to transform neglected empty houses into good quality homes for people on low incomes – a “letting agency with a difference”.
“Almost all letting agents see the landlord as their customers. But it’s actually the tenants who are the customers,” says founder Susan Aktemel.
Its model is aimed at addressing a lack of good, low-cost housing in the city. When it launched, Just 3 per cent of approximately 500 two-bedroom properties on the market were both affordable and accessible to people on benefits. And the situation has got worse, says Aktemel.
Wider efforts have been taking place to address the Scottish housing crisis. An emergency rent freeze and eviction ban will last until March, temporarily protecting residents from significant rent increases. However, this is set to end on April 1, with no extension planned.
In the meantime, demand continues to outstrip supply. Students at the University of Glasgow found themselves scrambling for accommodation, with one flat attracting 500 applications in a matter of hours. The university told students unable to find somewhere to live not to register for their courses.