This is the largest housing association in the West Midlands and one of the biggest in the country.
The Platform Housing Group owns over 47,000 homes and has 120,000 customers living in rented accommodation and shared ownership homes.
Its vision is to help people have a better future by building high-quality homes, and it’s investing in affordable housing, improved services, and communities.
Platform Housing has built more social and affordable homes in England over the last three years than any other social housing provider.
We take a closer look.
What Platform Housing Group does
Platform offers a range of affordable homes to rent, shared ownership homes for people wanting to buy and part-own a property, and also builds houses for sale. It is a strategic partner for Homes England, the government’s housing agency that works to get more homes built, including affordable housing.
Formed in 2018, Platform Housing Group prides itself on being a modern housing association, working to meet the future needs of customers and communities. As a Community Benefit Society (a charitable registered provider of social housing), Platform is keen to identify better ways of doing things, stating an aim to put colleagues and customers at its heart. Its priorities are creating equality, diversity, and inclusion.
It wants to make more affordable housing available across the West Midlands, help reduce the region’s housing shortage, and give more people a better future in a new home.
To do this, Platform is increasing investment in housing stock, tackling carbon reduction by upgrading the quality and energy efficiency of homes, and improving services to customers.
It aims to create a mix of general housing, homes for affordable rent, supported housing for older people, shared ownership, homes for intermediate rent, non-social rent, leasehold in management, and non-leased social housing.
Platform Housing Group’s strategy is to work on larger developments that allow it to concentrate on value and quality. Despite the economic challenges and cost of materials, it is focusing on delivering more affordable housing and wants to reduce the high turnover of lettings following the lockdowns, which led to higher-than-normal void losses from empty properties.
Figures for 2022
In the financial statement for the year ended March 2022, Platform Housing Group delivered one of the largest numbers of social rented homes in the sector. The group completed 1,171 new homes in 2020-21, an increase of 29% on the previous year, and retained its partnership with Homes England, receiving £250m in grant funding for the next five-year build programme.
Platform Housing Group’s CEO Elizabeth Froude commented:
Our 120,000 customers live in rented accommodation and shared ownership homes from Worcester in the West to Skegness in the East. We have more than 1,500 colleagues working across the business with the same ethos running throughout; to put our customers at the heart of everything we do.
Our future goals are detailed in our Corporate Strategy 2021-2026. The Strategy introduced a model to create ‘homes of the future and a great community to live in’ and that is supported by the ‘Platform Standard’ and considers Social Value return.
Tackling the challenges of a recession include the creation of our Wellbeing Fund, now in its third year; so far this year it has supported 3000 customers with critical support.
Some of the group’s proudest achievements include:
- The merger of two housing associations to become Platform Housing Group and building a single infrastructure that was able to deliver good services and compliance during Covid.
- The introduction of improved services to customers, such as 24/7 access to their accounts via the Your Platform digital service.
- Partnering with ambitious construction companies to build with modern methods of construction.
- The creation of its first safe house for domestic abuse victims.
- Creating energy-efficient homes.
- Remaining a top 5 builder of social and affordable housing.
- Issuing the lowest-priced Bond in the sector.
- Creating a customer survey tool that provides wide-ranging and strong insight into how efficient its services are from a customer’s perspective.
- Tenancy Health Checks are undertaken to identify customers with wider support needs to sustain their tenancies.
- Launching the Localities Model, designed with customers’ input to ensure that Platform can adapt its services to fit the local requirement.
Platform Housing Group’s new 5-year strategy
Its main aims are to:
- Get to know its customers better
- Deliver improved services
- Make things simpler
- Provide more services
- Give better digital access
- Make more improvements to its homes
To achieve these goals, Platform aims to improve its planning strategy, build greener homes, and upgrade the standard of its houses. It is working on a Platform Standard aimed at building stronger communities, working with local partners to meet local needs, investing in its teams, and putting clients first.
It also wants clients to give their views on how it’s performing and what they think of the services provided, increase the number of apprenticeships it offers, support diversity and be an ethical business.
Buying a home with Platform
Platform Home Ownership is part of Platform Housing Group and specialises in new-build homes which are available through shared ownership, rent-to-buy, and outright sale (for those who don’t meet the eligibility criteria that apply to shared ownership or rent-to-buy properties). Platform has a dedicated team to help with outright sale, or market sale, properties.
It also offers buying off-plan options which may mean that you can buy at below market value, depending on the developer. This can be an affordable route to home ownership and may be cheaper than renting in the area. Platform has mortgage advisors and solicitors who specialise in shared ownership.
Platform also offers staircasing opportunities – where the part-owner of a shared ownership house can decide to buy a further share of that property from a housing association. As you buy a greater share, you pay less rent on the remaining share owned by Platform.
Selling a shared ownership home.
Platform Housing Group offers the opportunity to sell through its partner Move With Us, which specialises in shared ownership sales. They will carry out a valuation of your property, and they can arrange for an Energy Performance Certificate to be obtained. They will then instruct two local agents to sell the house and advise you of the progress of the sale.
Move With Us conducts due diligence during the sale to ensure that Platform has all the right documents. On competition, you pay a fee to Move With Us. Alternatively, you can manage the sale yourself with help from Platform. This depends on the terms of your lease, as you may be able to market it as shared ownership (where staircasing and sale happen simultaneously) with Platform approving the purchaser, or an outright sale.
Do you live in a Platform Housing Group home?
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