Peer Landlord tests a model of shared housing which combines genuine affordability and promotes stability for tenants. Crucially, it seeks to establish a supportive – not supported – housing environment for those with lower general needs who are, or are at risk of homelessness.
The project is designed to explore whether shared housing could become a positive, viable, longer-term accommodation option, instead of individual flats which may be lonely, isolated and in the current housing market, increasingly expensive.
Designed to be easily replicated, we want to share our knowledge from the pilot project with other organisations with a view to helping others develop supportive shared housing projects.
The project seeks to address an injustice which sees many people who are, or are at risk of homelessness, but who can be capable of independent living, held back by unstable and often chaotic housing conditions.
Despite aiming to find sustainable employment, education or training, many are held back by unstable, unsuitable accommodation options culminating in a combination of sofa surfing, a series of unaffordable failed PRS tenancies, supported housing, hostels or even rough sleeping.
Who is it for?
Peer Landlord looks to provide a good quality, affordable and supportive shared housing option. It has been developed to support a specific cohort. These are single adults with low/no support needs who:
- Are actively engaged in employment, education or training
- Prepared to actively seek a job or training place where they are not in employment
- Capable of independent living but may require some additional tenancy support, signposting to appropriate services or a safety net as they get back to independent living again
How it works:
The model works by charging a genuinely affordable rent, at or around the LHA shared room rate. A Peer Landlord, takes on the responsibility for making sure their house is kept running smoothly whilst providing informal peer support to his or her housemates. The landlord is selected from an existing tenant who volunteers.
The input from the delivery partner is intensive property management not traditional supported housing inputs. As the main point of contact between support services and the household, the peer landlord can also help to identify support needs before a crisis point is reached.
The role of the peer landlord is to facilitate the supportive (not supported) nature of this housing solution.
It provides a shared accommodation solution that cultivates a degree of peer response to other support needs within the house providing a safety net of support if needed.
The result should be a platform for a supportive shared accommodation solution that sits in the gap between supported housing, with hands on support for tenants with higher needs, and the PRS, with a very hands off (or non-existent, in all likelihood) support structure from the landlord.
What is Peer Landlord Testing?
We are exploring whether or not supportive shared housing can be a positive, viable, long term option for lower needs individuals who are or are at risk of being homeless – we think it can.
The project has a number of aims:
- To discover whether the Peer Landlord model can help reduce management costs while providing the supportive, not supported platform for tenants – Giving tenants a stake in the running of their households may reduce maintenance and management costs for the housing provider, and helping us to keep rents low
- To support people in poorly-paid employment to sustain long-term accommodation – with PL rents set at our around shared LHA rates, they are an option for financially vulnerable people engaging in lower paid work
- To discover whether a supportive housing environment can help people to achieve independence – By providing a safe, mutually supportive environment the Peer Landlord model should allow confidence and motivation to grow.
Development through learning and replication
We want to share our learning from Peer Landlord to help others facilitate the development of similar supportive shared housing options.
Over the past five years we have worked to capture the learning from the pilot project. In 2017 we published A Replication Learning Guide.
The report includes details of key metrics for the pilot project focused on tenancy sustainability, move on and engagement with employment, education and training.
In keeping with the Commonweal model of rigorously evaluating our projects, an independent evaluation of Peer Landlord was also carried out by Dr Julie Rugg from the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York. The full evaluation can be read here.
Housing experts Heather Petch and John Perry have also created the Making a Case report, on the benefits of the Peer Landlord model. this can be read here.