Housing Associations Snap Up Private Lettings Agencies !!

Date Published 12 December 2012

Two lettings agents have been bought by housing associations in separate deals. Purchase prices were not disclosed but the acquisitions show the enthusiasm social landlords currently have for strategic expansion into private lettings. Notably, both purchasers said they aimed to improve standards in the private rented sector.

South Yorkshire Housing Association has bought Rotherlets in Rotherham, with 500 properties under management and 12 staff in two offices. The housing association will merge Rotherlets with its subsidiary Crucible Homes, which was set up three years ago to manage its shared ownership sales. It now handles both market sales and private lettings.

The acquisition of Rotherlets is part of a growth strategy that aims to make the combined business the largest private lettings business in the Sheffield region.

John Spon-Smith, new business director at South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: `The quality of service in the private lettings sector is variable – much more so than the social housing sector – so we feel we can bring a lot to it.`

In the other deal, Regenda Group has bought McDonald Property Rentals, with three offices in and around Blackpool which has 800 homes on its books. The name of the business will not change.

The business is owned by E Hind & Co and employs 14 staff in three offices.

Bernard Gallagher, chief executive of Regenda, said the association had been seeking to buy a lettings business for some time.

Last month, Places for People bought private rentals company Touchstone for £15.9m in order to expand its own existing 3,000-strong private rental portfolio, managed by its private rented subsidiary Blueroom. Touchstone continues with its own branding.

David Cowans, group chief executive of Places for People, said of that deal: `We have long supported the growth of the private rented sector, alongside other housing options for people.`