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Case Study – Aberdeen City Council – Using empty homes to meet affordable housing supply need

A well-maintained one-bedroom city-centre flat in Aberdeen had been lying empty for almost 2 years, as a consequence of the recent slowdown in the regional housing market. 

A tenant was found for the property within 6 months and they remain in the property 12 months later. So, there is evidence of the tenancy being sustained.

By registering on the Matchmake to Rent scheme (MM2Rent)(see below), the property was listed on the council’s website page as a housing option available in the private sector. Within 6 months, a tenant who had struggled to find suitable accommodation was offered the property, with the help of the Council’s Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme, as an option. They remain in the property 12 months later. 

This approach has shown that owners/landlords in the private rented sector are willing to rent to households in acceptance of the Local Housing Allowance, if they are currently working with the council’s Housing Access & Advice Team, and that these properties increase the choice available.

Aberdeen City’s MM2Rent

Aberdeen City’s pioneering MM2Rent scheme matches owners of empty properties with potential tenants who the council is working with. The scheme now forms a key part of the advice given by Housing Officers. with potential tenants signposted to the website page when discussing housing options. 4 

The scheme aligns with the following objectives in Aberdeen City’s Local Housing Strategy:

• To ensure there is an adequate supply of housing of the right size, type, and location, and 

• Homelessness is prevented and alleviated

The Matchmake to Rent scheme is a holistic tool by the council to promote the use of the private rented sector, where appropriate, and reduce demand on social housing. Through the collaborative approach by all housing-related teams.

(1) owners can access council services including information on landlord registration, council tax registration and the repairing standard

(2) Customers can access services including but not limited to housing advice, Rent Deposit Guarantee schemes and tenancy support information.

This joined up approach contributes to shortening the homelessness journey time for Aberdeen City Council’s customers; reduces the need to provide temporary accommodation; opens up more choices for the customers and increases access to all types of properties thereby removing limitations of choice.