How Employers Can Help Staff Find Safe Housing When Relocating

Business Insights

Having a roof over your head is something everyone should be entitled to. Unfortunately, having a safe place to call home is only possible if you have the funds to pay for rent and bills. Even then, it can sometimes be hard to locate housing that meets all your needs.

Employers should care about this because workers who struggle with housing issues can’t give their full attention to their job. That means productivity suffers, and the company is stuck with a workforce that’s stressed and unhappy. What can an employer do about that, though?

Well, maybe this should clear a few things up.

Why Offer Housing As A Benefit?

Perhaps the easiest way for employers to help staff find housing is to provide it in one form or another. That doesn’t mean that every new worker gets the deed to their own property. However, it does potentially mean that companies have access to privately rented properties that staff can use for accommodation. Not only does this ensure that employees live within ideal proximity to the business, but it also means that employers know how much it costs for their workers to live. That way, there should be fewer issues regarding potentially unfair salary payments.

Providing housing to employees might seem risky, given that people tend to leave a job within five years of starting it. Plus, it can require extra costs regarding council tax, maintenance expenses, etc. However, if the accommodation is available on a rental basis where staff only live there while working for the company, it shouldn’t be that risky. What’s more, housing can be offered as an alternative to other benefits, which might not be as valuable. Perks are nice, but they’re hard to enjoy if you don’t have a roof over your head.

Are There Any Other Avenues?

Providing housing might not always be an option, especially in areas like London, where costs can be high. However, employers can still offer help through things like a rental deposit loan.

Here, employees can cover upfront costs when relocating, which takes a lot of the pressure away from moving home. Repayments are then made over a set period, with the money deducted from their salary. It’s an excellent way for companies to help staff afford living costs without providing the accommodation themselves.

Do You Need Legal Advice?

Including perks like this in an employee contract is excellent, but it can very easily go wrong. That’s why it’s essential to receive legal advice before any big decisions are made.

One of the best firms to turn to is Ashwood Solicitors. These housing law solicitors in Manchester specialise in debt, eviction, housing disrepair, neighbourly disputes, and more. Ensuring that staff have access to their services without worrying about covering the costs can make a big difference should there ever be accommodation issues.

Their help is particularly useful if the company offers employees financial aid rather than providing housing. However, their knowledge and experience with all areas of housing law mean that they’re worth keeping around regardless.

What Does This Do For Employees?

Employees have a lot of reason to support a scheme like this. For one, it increases their likelihood of gaining work because they have more freedom with where they can apply. They know that they don’t already need to live in an expensive city centre (or worry about lengthy commutes) because housing will be provided for them.

There’s also the matter that paying for rent through a salary-sacrifice scheme can actually work out in their favour. By cutting their paycheck to cover living costs, less money is required for National Insurance. That means their salary actually stretches further than it would if they received the whole thing at once.

Will The Pandemic Change Anything?

The pandemic has shifted the way some businesses operate. With remote working now more popular, relocation is no longer essential for every employee who doesn’t live close to their office.

However, plenty of businesses still intend to continue operating the way they did before COVID-19. While there might be more flexibility in working, there will still be some expectation for people to work in a shared space. After all, permanently staying at home and communicating only through the internet doesn’t work for plenty of employers and staff.

This means concern over housing is still a significant issue. Findings from a few years ago state that housing issues negatively affect staff in around half of large businesses. They also impact recruitment, retention, and productivity in similar ways. While these figures might be a little lower post-COVID-19, it’s unlikely they’ll drop enough to render them insignificant.

Moving forward, relocating for work probably won’t be as important as it used to be. However, many companies are still going to require it, so having schemes in place that help employees find accommodation should be essential.