Housing White Paper: could Starter Homes be genuinely affordable?
As the publication date for the government's Housing White Paper approaches, we and groups across the the housing world are hoping for an announcement that will signal a 'whole new mindset', as the Secretary of State has promised.
One item that will be included is confirmation of how the government's long-running Starter Homes policy will work - and the detail will tell us how far it will go towards slowing the affordability crisis for first-time buyers. This is the government's flagship policy that was pitched as "turning Generation Rent into Generation Buy".Read more
Build-to-Rent: A new vision for London housing, but who is it for?
For many years, debates around housing supply have suggested that a model needs to be worked up that leverages investment into building new long-term, professionally managed privately rented accommodation, as is much more normal in other countries around the world.
Generation Rent has always argued that new supply will only help a small percentage of lucky renters, and that the priority should be to support legislative reform that would improve things for the over two million London renters in existing stock.Read more
Private renters are Londoners too…
As Sadiq Khan announced the membership of his new Homes for Londoners board last week, the private rented sector was conspicuous by its absence. Despite close to one third of Londoners privately renting, the new body has not yet made provision for either tenants’ voices to be heard, nor for a clear focus on the PRS to be part of HfL’s work.Read more
Housing & Planning Bill: the good bits, the bad bits, and the silence
The Housing and Planning Bill has been announced and is making its way through the Commons. The government is using the legislation to drive through some major changes that threaten to weaken social housing and harm the poorest members of society.
But they're also embarking on some much-needed changes to the private rented sector which should help to root out illegal practices and improve renters' homes.
The Bill is silent on security for renters. At a time when millions of us have no option but to rent privately, we need to start having some protection from eviction on a landlord's whim: today we launched a petition calling for this. Please sign it and help us persuade politicians to give everyone a stable home.Read more
"Success" looks like 1 million new homes
Tonight, BBC One's Inside Out looks at the housing shortage and the desperate need to build more homes. This morning's headlines quote the housing minister Brandon Lewis telling the programme that success for the government on housebuilding would be building 1 million more homes by the end of the Parliament.
Don't miss @BrandonLewis talking to @BBCMarkEaston about the #housingshortage on Inside Out, BBC One, 7.30pm tonight pic.twitter.com/LIPJAZU4IR— Alix Johnson (@Alix_Riverside) September 21, 2015
Is life outside the capital the answer for London’s renters?
Another year, another inflation-busting rent rise. Many of London's workers would be forgiven for wondering whether it wouldn't make sense just to up sticks and join the commuters vaulting the green belt every morning. Well wonder no more.
We looked at whether it is cheaper to rent outside of London and commute in by train every day, or if the capital is still worth it. The answer is the latter - just about.Read more
Social housing sector makes its pitch
There have been not one but two reports out in the past 24 hours which advise the government how it can boost housebuilding at the lower end of the market - something that was woeful under the past government with its slashed grant funding and so-called affordable rent.
In a bid to shake off the toxicity of the "affordable" tag, the National Housing Federation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Savills have produced a report into how living rents could be set and underpin an increase in housebuilding of 80,000 homes a year. Based on what is affordable on low incomes, their local "living" rents are set at roughly 40% of the market rate - instead of the 80% the government claims is affordable. Just £3bn of public money a year could fund this programme.Read more
The Queen’s Speech: Surely 11 million private renters warrant a little more?
Although the main housing elements of today’s Queen’s Speech were reported in the week leading up to the announcement, it’s still very disappointing to have a housing bill outlined today that does nothing for the 11 million (and growing) private renters in this country.Read more
Build to Rent: the answer to the housing crisis?
If the numbers add up for him next week, Ed Miliband will be Prime Minister and he will start attempting to reform the private rented sector with longer tenancies and rent stabilisation. We've already spotted holes in his plans that would undermine attempts to give renters better protections, but at least we support reform in principle. Most of the ire directed at Labour since they announced the policy is from those who oppose any form of regulation of rents.Read more
Undermining unicorns: redefining affordable housing
Today's Guardian reports on Labour plans to redefine the word "affordable". It is a word that has caused much confusion and anger in housing circles since the current government reformed the grant system for social housing.
To be deemed affordable and thus qualify for state subsidy, new homes must be offered to tenants at a maximum of 80% of local market rents. To call this affordable betrays a staggering lack of awareness. In the real world, 80% is not much cheaper than the expensive rents set by the free market; it is not affordable to people on average incomes in expensive areas, let alone those on low incomes whom subsidised housing is supposed to prioritise.Read more