Six businesses set to transform the private rented sector

Date: 12 November 2019

The Young Foundation is excited to welcome a new cohort of entrepreneurs to its Reimagining Rent accelerator. The programme – the only one of its kind in the UK – helps enterprises and businesses to accelerate and grow their social impact to tackle issues such as affordability, quality and security which affect vulnerable and lower income renters.

Connected, thriving communities are the foundation of our society. They keep us safer, happier, healthier and more resilient to face shared challenges. However, in the last decade, poverty among renters[1] has doubled, placing enormous strain on communities, especially the most vulnerable and less well off.

The combination of missed house-building targets, complex regulation, growing demand, poor quality homes, and inefficient use of supply pervade the UK housing market. Aspiring homeowners and renters continue to face spiralling costs and the ratio of house price to average salary has doubled over the past twenty years, from 4 to 8 times[2]. For vulnerable people, the inequalities perpetuated by the rental sector can be severe with higher eviction rates leading to rapid growth in homelessness over the past decade. Rough sleeping alone has increased by 165% since 2010[3].  With 5 million UK households reliant on the private rented sector and that number expected to rise[4] new solutions are needed to support those most affected by poor quality, insecure or unaffordable homes.

Reimagining Rent is expressly designed to meet this need. Supporting early stage ventures with a social mission to tackle entrenched problems within the private rental sector. These ventures participate in a 6 month, cohort-based programme, which includes intensive workshops, consultancy, expert guidance and peer support, allowing participants to develop the skills and infrastructure they need to strengthen their business, demonstrate social impact and access opportunities to scale and grow.

We’re pleased to announce the following organisations have been admitted to the Reimagining Rent Accelerator:

  • Fat Macys a social enterprise, supporting people experiencing homelessness. Their “micro-hostel” concept offers homeless people a place to live whilst taking part in a work experience / training programme within Fat Macy’s catering and supper club enterprise.
  • Branch Properties a specialist estate and lettings agency who provide high quality, accessible housing for disabled people and have ambitious plans to create a national network of accommodation for people with accessibility needs.
  • LivShare a new, flexible and low rent housing model based on purpose-built, shared houses, designed to offer the very best of communal living spaces with high quality, private bedrooms.
  • Advice4Renters, an action group focused on ensuring that all tenants have access to quality advice, advocacy and representation regardless of their income. Advice4Renters are the only legal advice agency operating in London to support for private tenants.
  • Mortar, a tenant-led, tech-for-good, property management service making renting fairer by protecting vulnerable tenants from data misuse. They use open banking technology to promote transparency, enabling tenants to take control of their rent payments, and provide debt management advice and services to those in need.
  • QIQO aim to provide affordable co-living for key workers, through the acquisition of unsold Section 106 allocated property. QIQO tailor these properties to the needs of lower income key workers providing a unique model of shared housing to the important group.


Helen Goulden, Chief Executive at The Young Foundation said:

“The private rental sector in the UK is beset with challenges, requiring an injection of innovation to shift the way in which the system works. This third cohort of Reimagining Rent entrepreneurs are doing just that – by tackling big, serious issues like homelessness and lack of housing for people who are disabled. Through intensive support, we hope that each of these enterprises will radically increase the scale of their social impact and we are delighted that Nationwide Foundation continues to support us in such important work.”

Reimagining Rent is funded by the Nationwide Foundation, a charitable funder aiming to increase the availability of decent affordable homes for people in housing need.

Jonathan Lewis, Programme Manager for Nurturing Ideas to Change the Housing System at the Nationwide Foundation said:

“We’ve been proud to fund The Young Foundation on this area of work since 2017 and it’s incredibly exciting that they’re welcoming a third set of entrepreneurs to the Reimagining Rent accelerator programme. During our time working together, The Young Foundation has shown an unerring commitment to testing truly innovative ideas in the private rented sector. This approach fits with our belief that the changes needed to transform the housing system must be explored, evidenced and then amplified.”

[1] Tackling poverty through housing and planning policy in city regions, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2016)

[2] Housing affordability in England and Wales: Office of National Statistics 2016

[3] Rough sleeping in England: autumn 2018: MHCLG 2018

[4] The UK Tenant Survey, Knight Frank Research (2017)



For press enquiries please contact Ryan Boyce on 020 8980 6263 or by email on:

About The Young Foundation

The Young Foundation is a charity focussed on creating connected and more sustainable communities in the UK. We care about what matters to communities and our programmes concentrate on issues such as improving health and wellbeing, transforming education and housing and developing social entrepreneurship.

We are an UKRI accredited research institute. We work nationally, regionally and locally in alliance with our many partners and funders.

Since 1954, we have developed and created over 80 organisations to target unmet social needs, including: Which?, The Open University, Language Line, Social Innovation Exchange, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Uprising and Action for Happiness.

About Nationwide Foundation

As an independent charity, the Nationwide Foundation influences changes to improve circumstances for those people in the UK who most need help. Its vision is for everyone in the UK to have access to a decent home that they can afford, and its strategy seeks to improve the lives of people who are disadvantaged because of their housing circumstances. To do this, it aims to increase the availability of decent affordable homes. The strategy of Decent Affordable Homes began in 2013 and the Nationwide Foundation is committed to this strategy until 2026.

Funding for this research, totaling £248,026, has been given as part of the Nationwide Foundation’s Nurturing Ideas to Change the Housing System programme. The Nationwide Foundation is committed to backing promising housing ideas, allowing them to be tested, and then helping them move through into action.

The Nationwide Foundation was established by Nationwide Building Society in 1997 as a fully independent foundation.

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For any enquiries about the Nationwide Foundation, please contact Sam Phripp, Communications, Policy and Public Affairs Officer on 07880 462129 or email