Housing charity to become a private landlord

Yet another housing association is to expand into the private rented sector.

The board of Viridian has approved the social landlord’s move to invest in the market rental sector.

Viridian CEO Matthew Fox said: “We devoted a whole evening to the pros and cons of the decision.

“We spent lots of time on questions such as: Is market rental really core business for a housing charity? Will market rental generate a high enough return to cover the cost of servicing the debt used to buy the properties? And what will happen to property prices?”

He added: “Given the absence of Government funding for the foreseeable future, market rental looks to be the direction that social housing is moving towards.

“However, we will approach this new market very cautiously and put a toe in the water at this stage until we feel more confident about the future and of our experience in this area.”

Other social housing providers which have recently moved into the private rented sector include Sovereign, which bought 84 homes to rent out last year.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers last year published a paper suggesting that more social housing providers should move into the ‘market renting’ sector.