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Power firm’s tenancy loan scheme helps concerned worker locate new home

James Fallon faced being left without a roof over his head after his private landlord closed the door on him remaining in his rented home.

From Press releases - 26 October 2017 12:00 AM

Mark Bullimore/Mark Bullimore Photography 2017

The 38-year-old call centre worker from Ipswich called on his employers, UK Power Networks, to help through their new tenancy loan scheme.

The UK’s biggest electricity network operator, which keeps the lights on for the East of England, can fund employees looking to rent a new home by providing an interest free loan, which can be repaid over the course of up to a year, to meet the cost of a deposit.

James said: “I was living in the town centre with a private landlord when I was suddenly told ‘you have to be out by this date’, it was really short notice so the tenancy loan scheme came along at just the right time for me.

“I found somewhere I wanted to live quickly enough, but the issue was it was finding the amount of money required for a deposit that had created an issue for me.

“I don’t drive so it was important for me to find a place that was still in the centre of Ipswich near enough to walk to work because I didn’t want the extra cost of public transport.

“Everybody was really helpful and the money came through incredibly quickly. I would recommend the scheme to any of my colleagues should they find themselves in a similar position as it was completely painless to do. I’m now happily settled into a purpose-built flat close to work.

“I would say ‘go for it 100%’ because it is interest-free, you have a full year to pay it back and with it coming straight off your wages you don’t really notice it coming off too much. For me, it avoided the worst case scenario of finding myself with nowhere to live.”

UK Power Networks’ director of human resources Chris Degg said: “Substantial increases in rental costs mean that people from all walks of life struggle to pay the deposit and rent required at the start of a tenancy and can mean them having to go into their savings.

“‘As an employer of choice, UK Power Networks aims to provide progressive terms and conditions of employment for all of our staff and the new tenancy loan scheme is a great example of how we can support those in a similar situation to James.

“This is quite a specific service for a distinct set of personal circumstances so it will not be required by everyone, but we know those who have taken advantage of this scheme have benefitted hugely from it.”

UK Power Networks launched the scheme in April after London Mayor Sadiq Khan highlighted the high cost of housing, particularly in the capital.

The company also pays above the Living Wage, operates a loan scheme for season ticket commuters and offers independent advice to employees with housing problems through an Employee Assistance Programme.