Letting agents are often seen as a heartless bunch particularly by prospective tenants either on benefits or currently homeless.
While we try to be as polite and sympathetic as possible, our role is to meet the needs of our landlord clients and in the main, there are very very few who are prepared to take the risk that such tenants may provide. Accordingly, 99 times out of a hundred we will turn away such tenants at the enquiry stage because we have been specifically instructed not to introduce them. Reading this you may feel we're simply trying to justify ourselves, we're not; a major part of our role is to de-risk our clients' lettings businesses and a major plank in so doing is to ensure the prospective tenant can afford to pay a market related rent for the duration of their tenancies. Frankly, it is the role of the State to provide adequate social housing not the Private Rented Sector. In truth though, given hardly any social housing has been built in the last 30 years relative to demand, that is, perhaps its no wonder the likes of Shelter continually paint the private landlord and their agent as the bad guys.
What we need is a visionary and properly funded local authority like Norwich City Council once was. Unfortunately, there's no one left with a living memory of how the City cleared the slums of Norwich and built the garden suburbs in the likes of Mile Cross and Earlham in the early part of the last century. How many lives were transformed by those genuine leaders of the day.
Nowadays, it comes down to an unorchestrated bunch of individual charities to try to stop the most needy in our society from falling through the cracks. One such is the St Martin's Housing Trust whose aim is to help homeless people back onto the straight and narrow. From small beginnings in 1972 when it started out as the Norwich Night Shelter, it has come a long way through the hard work of the dedicated trustees and volunteers and generous donations.
We can't give our time but we can give money and we've nominated St Martin's as our Christmas Charity this year. We don't send out cards at Christmas and instead give an equivalent donation to a worthy charity and we're very pleased to be supporting St Martin's this year. For more information on their activities Click Here
Martin & Co Norwich