Getting a foot on the property ladder may not be the first thing on the mind of young people graduating from university or starting out in their professional career in Sunderland. Certainly, looking for a home to rent might not necessarily be the first thought that springs to mind. But for a young professional here in Sunderland, getting that first foot on the property ladder doesn’t have to be the distant dream many may think it is.

It definitely wasn’t for Jonny, a marketing and communications professional from Washington, who made the leap onto the ladder and moved into his own rented home through local housing provider, Gentoo.

We caught up with Jonny at his home in Washington, to hear at first-hand how and why he was able secure his first property, despite fears of affordability and lack of suitable, available accommodation in Sunderland.

After graduating from university in Leeds, Jonny returned to his hometown to start his career and be with family and friends, moving back into his childhood home with his parents.

After living with them for a number of years, he, like many young professionals, started to build a life that warranted him living independently in a place he could call his own.

“Don’t get me wrong, moving back home with my parents definitely had its perks, but as I got older and my career and my life both started to develop, I realised that I needed to explore my options to find my own place. I hadn’t lost hope of owning my own home one day, it’s just something that I didn’t think was affordable in the short term. So I decided to explore my options with Gentoo, as I knew they provided the majority of affordable housing in the city.”

As a regulated provider of good quality, affordable housing in Sunderland, renting with Gentoo was Jonny’s preferred route to finding a suitable property.

“It was a no brainer in a lot of respects. Gentoo don’t require you to make a deposit or put down a bond on a property, as well as you having the option of choosing whether a property comes furnished or unfurnished. Which, for someone in my position, who is looking for their first home, the opportunity to move into a property that came furnished with things I just didn’t have immediately available to me, was ideal.”

Since moving into his rented home, Jonny hasn’t looked back.

“It was obviously very different to living at home with my parents, but having already experienced living away at university, it was something I adapted to very quickly. It’s been fantastic to have the freedom to do what you want, when you want. Including watch as much football as you like! It’s also enhanced my social life too, with being able to have friends round for some food or a drink. You can’t put a price on having your own independence.”

Gentoo is working on changing the perception of rented affordable housing in Sunderland, alongside the city’s vision to become a more vibrant, dynamic and healthy place to live.

With properties readily available to rent across the city for young people who are in a similar position to Jonny, looking to gain their independence and that take that first step onto the property ladder, the Group is sure to have something for you.

Finding a property with them is straightforward too, with the ‘find a home’ element of its website and the widely used ‘HomeHunt’ allocations process making the process of finding and applying for a rented home nice and simple.


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