Headlines: January 20th, 2014

Following successful piloting, councils are being invited to subscribe to the LetsHelpYou website which allows tenants to find more affordable accommodation in the private rental sector. The council subscription allows tenants to use the service free of charge.

The LetsHelpYou service is owned by Kirklees Council and funded by DWP. It has a network of over 20 local authorities, with more in the pipeline. Over 16,000 tenants have registered; there are over 1,700 registered landlords, and to date in excess of 4,000 properties have been uploaded and advertised through the service.

LetsHelpYou deals with affordable private rental properties. It’s a multi-channel solution and the only service of this type available through SKY and Virgin Media with a potential reach of over 10.5 million homes on SKY, and 4 million homes on Virgin Media.

Through local authority subscription LetsHelpYou works as a free service for both the tenant and landlord. Tenants use the local housing allowance calculator to work out their LHA then search for colour-coded properties within their allowance. Over 60% of advertised properties have a rent equal to or below the relevant LHA rate.

Landlords have access to free advertising reaching a wider audience and the optional smartphone tools lets them quickly and easily upload property information.

The service received a professional landlord endorsement when it was voted winner of the 2013/14 Public Sector/Not for Profit Award at the recent national Landlord & Letting Awards held at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

Independent research carried out in the summer shows that two-thirds of tenants responding to the online questionnaire were in receipt of housing benefit, and 33% of respondents who found accommodation through LetsHelpYou said they would otherwise have been homeless.