Housing project celebrates first year helping tenants

A scheme that provides training, advice and guidance for people looking for accommodation in the private rented sector in Hastings and St Leonards is celebrating its first year of operation.

The Housing Access Project (HAP), a BHT Sussex project, was launched in September 2013, and worked with 265 people in the town, with 46 being successful in securing and maintaining their own accommodation.

HAP works with clients to develop the skills and attitudes needed to become good tenants, from paying their rent on time to reporting maintenance issues and presenting themselves positively to landlords and their neighbours.

Kay Reynolds, project leader, HAP said: “Clients attend workshops designed to empower them to find and maintain a tenancy in the private rented sector as well as being signposted to services to secure employment and work and learning opportunities. Due to rising house prices and lower than average salaries in the town, more and more people are struggling to buy properties in the area and are therefore turning to the private rented sector causing both demand and competition for renters. Hastings and St Leonards is also home to a large number of minimum wage workers and zero-hour contracts resulting in renters struggling to raise the £1,000 plus needed to pay the rent in advance, deposit and high agency fees.” To contact the project call Kay on 01424 572009.