Housing association Notting Hill has launched a dedicated private rented sector brand. Folio London will be taking over the organisation’s private rented housing business, which first began in 2007.
The move comes as an increasing number of housing associations are weighing up their options around market rental. The association joins Thames Valley Housing, which operates Fizzy Living, in having a dedicated – and separate – brand. Fellow housing association A2 Dominion is also preparing to launch a fresh brand, Fabrica, to take forward its market rent and build for sale activities. As registered charities, housing associations are generally focused on creating subsidised, “affordable” housing, but as sources of funding, such as government grants, reduce, they are increasingly looking at other ways to create funds to support those core activities. A profit made from rental housing can therefore be judged as a relevant way to support further construction of affordable housing portfolios.
Notting Hill has said that a project in Marine Wharf, Surrey Quays will be the first development under the Folio London name. The housing association will be developing and managing 374 flats for private rent in a partnership development with Sellar Design & Development, though the first flats will not be available to rent until 2017.
“It’s important that we distinguish our offer in London’s very competitive private rented sector,” said NHH chief operating officer, Andy Belton.
“Our approach is straightforward – there’s no hard-sell from our dedicated team as we don’t work on commission. Early next year we will add web services for existing residents to report repairs and make payments.”
Belton noted that Notting Hill is no newcomer to the PRS: “We set up our private rent business seven years ago and today we have a portfolio of 800 homes. Depending on market conditions, we will add up to 1,000 new private rent homes in the next five years, from our overall development pipeline of 7,000 units.”