A new lettings agency that aims to invest £30,000 into the local community of Redcar and Cleveland over the next two years has enjoyed its official launch.
The Ethical Lettings Agency, a community interest company (CIC) was officially opened by Redcar and Cleveland Council leader Sue Jeffrey.
Agency director Carla Keegans, an experienced housing professional of 15 years, has returned home to Redcar to open a business she describes as “a lettings agency with a conscience”.
With business partner Emma Martin, she aims to “shake up the lettings industry” by charging fair fees with no hidden costs, using a model based on quality services, rather than the “outdated” sales model.
Carla has also been appointed as a board director at Erimus Housing, part of the Thirteen Group, after giving up a well-paid job as head of housing at Northumberland Council to return to Redcar.
“My experience working for various housing and public sector organisations has convinced me that there is a need in the market for an agency that provides a better service to landlords and tenants,” said Carla, who previously worked in a senior housing role within the City of London Corporation, whilst also working in the housing sector in York and Sunderland.
“With experience of letting and managing many thousands of private and public properties and tenancies, we know what we’re doing and know we can save landlords money, time and hassle.”
Saltburn-born Carla, who was brought up on Sandringham Road near Redcar railway station, said: “The only place I wanted to start this was at home, in Redcar. I’ve lived all over the country but Redcar has always been home.
“I came back here to set up this agency, to give back and to do my bit in helping to make Teesside great again.
“This is where I feel I can make the most positive difference – here within the private rented sector on Teesside. I aim to do what I’ve always done but in a different way, putting all of my experience to good use for a cause that’s close to my heart.
“I’ve never been motivated by money. I got into housing because I fundamentally believe that everyone needs a home.”
The Ethical Lettings Agency don’t charge fees to tenants who receive housing benefit, while fees for tenants not on housing benefit are capped at £175, and the service is open to all landlords and tenants in the Redcar and Teesside private rented sector.