My Notable Property Person this week is a bit of a magician – he achieves the impossible by providing ‘voidless’ lets to landlords and quality accommodation to needy tenants. I wrote about his company Housing Action a while back, but here is his story.
1. Please introduce yourself. Say a bit about yourself and your company
I’m Jim Overbury the CEO of Housing Action. Housing Action are a charitable owned social enterprise rapidly expanding in the private lettings market. Housing Action are landlords and managing agents with a twist.
Established in 1987 we offer landlords a unique opportunity to never have a debt or void again without the need for credit referencing, insurance or any risk of their property being returned in a condition less than they would expect.
We currently work with several local authorities and run the PSL (Private sector lease) schemes for South Norfolk, Waveney and Broadland district councils. I would describe myself as passionate, committed, service driven and maybe, just maybe, a bit of a workaholic!
2. How did you first become involved in property?
Whilst at university, I managed Student accommodation and learnt early on, the ground rules that have stood me in good stead: be clear, be simple, but most of all be straight. From these humble beginnings I became a researcher for a Charity, before moving onto work for and now running Housing Action.
3. What do you think is your greatest achievement so far?
Personally my family, but on a business level, being instrumental in leading my team to develop a charity dedicated to resolving housing issues into one of the fasted growing social enterprises in the UK, able to now deliver on its core aims at a greater level than anyone ever expected, due to the unprecedented uptake we have month in month out of new landlords .
4. Do you or your company have any exciting plans for the future?
Silly question! Yes of course, we have some fantastic ideas for the coming months and years which see Housing Action develop in to a national charity in the not too distant future.
5. What do you think are the greatest problems facing the private rented sector today?
Uncertainty. Talking with new and our existing landlords on a regular basis, the comments I hear most are that they really don’t know what the government has planned for landlord legislation, changes in the law around direct payments and the recent issue of capital gains tax changes.
6. What do you think are the greatest opportunities?
That this coalition Government can recognise that the private sector can be developed into an viable alternative to social housing and start to alleviate the social housing shortfall, whilst working more cost effectively than many past government schemes.
7. We have a new government. What would you like them to do for the private rented sector?
Listen to us!
8. Do you use social media (blogs, twitter, LinkedIn etc)? What place do you think it has in the future of the property industry?
I think right now it plays a significant part of business in terms of information sharing, but can see it becoming key to future development of new products and services. We have only recently registered our twitter account Housingactionuk, but as time develops and my children show me how it works I plan for it to be a core area of our activity.
9. What is the most important lesson you have learned during your time in property?
The first ones – be clear, be simple be straight!
10. What advice would you have to someone thinking of entering the property industry today?
Talk to other landlords, learn the pitfalls of what could go wrong, rent not getting paid, tenants damaging your property or turning it into a cannabis factory, then call us, as we offer the perfect solution!
Thank you for that Jim. I think that what you have achieved is remarkable, and I am sure that Housing Action will be a leading national charity very soon.
To find out more visit the web-site www.housingaction.co.uk.