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Council helps care leavers to find rented accommodation

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Higher mortgage rates are leading to a surge in renting, with competition rife among renters, according to recent research commissioned by the BBC.

But figures we’ve released show that we have helped 43 care experienced young people find the accommodation they need by acting as their guarantor to their rental applications.

According to the BBC report, data from property agents Rightmove suggests that rental enquiries in the South West rose from seven enquiries per rental property in May 2019, to 27 enquiries per rental property in May 2023.

We see that the market for renters, especially younger adults with little to no history of renting, is very challenging, and we are concerned about how the current conditions are impacting on care experienced young people.

Having payslips and a job reference can help improve renters’ chances of finding suitable accommodation, but landlords often require guarantors to support individuals’ rental applications, especially if the individual is a first-time renter.

Where possible, parents often step in to act as guarantors to support young people when they leave the family home.  But for children in care and care experienced young people, who don’t have that family structure, it can be difficult for them to demonstrate to lenders that they have the financial back-up.  And without that, many care leavers would find it more difficult to secure rent agreements, making it harder for them to become independent.

We started to act as guarantor for children in our care in 2018, following the experience of one our care experienced young people.

Having left University, the young person had found it difficult to secure rental accommodation, and approached us as her corporate parent, asking us to act as guarantor to her application.

We agreed, helping her secure her rental accommodation.

Since then, we have acted as guarantor for 43 care experienced young people to help with their accommodation.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, our Cabinet Member with responsibility for children’s services, said:

“As corporate parents to children in our care and care leavers, we want to make sure that our young people get the same opportunities as other young people, across the board – in education, in employment and training opportunities, in housing and accommodation and in life generally.

“We decided some years ago that we would help our care leavers by agreeing to be their guarantor on applications for accommodation, and I’m pleased that in that time, we’ve now helped 43 young adults secure the accommodation they need.

“Access to good housing locally and nationally is a vitally important issue.  In Devon, we are continuing to engage with our District Council partners to explore all the inter-dependencies between housing and social care, particularly for our care leavers and other young people.”