Council landlords and social impact

08.07.19

Charities have been warned that councils may begin to ask them to prove their social impact as part of rental agreements.

Antonia Swinson, chief executive of the Ethical Property Foundation, a property advice organisation for the voluntary sector, said she had heard of a few councils in London looking to introduce discounts on rent for organisations that can prove their social impact.

Tool of eviction?
Swinson said charities needed to be aware of the possibility of councils asking them to prove their social impact and said she was concerned that local authorities might use it as a “tool of eviction”.

She said: “It could be a double-edged sword. It could be a means of charities retaining their affordable rents with the local authorities by establishing their social impacts but on the other hand who is going to establish it? … It may not necessarily be bad. But by God, charities are going to have to be on the ball in proving their social impact."

Swinson also said that the Social Value Act “was never conceived as a way of setting rents” and that it was intended to “enable charities to win council contracts”.

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