Bournemouth Council to enter property market
Bournemouth Borough Council is to debate on Monday a plan to buy up properties in the town to house homeless families - a practice that is already happening in the London boroughs of Enfield and Westminster.
Local authorities have a statutory duty to house homeless people in temporary and emergency accommodation. Because they have no available properties of their own they often have to turn to bed and breakfasts to put families up. Councillor Robert Lawton explains:
"It will help us to reduce costs, for example, avoiding the use of expensive B&B accommodation. By owning the properties, it would mean that the council would be able to ensure the properties are good quality and well managed. In the longer term, any income generated and increase in property values would come back to the council to help fund additional services for vulnerable people."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
Government pushes ahead with Right to Buy
This morning Greg Clark, the new Communities and Local Government Secretary, announced that the government would introduce a Housing Bill to extend the Right to Buy to tenants of housing associations - funded by the sale of high value council houses.
When faced with a housing crisis that forces millions of vulnerable people and would-be first time buyers into inadequate, insecure and expensive private rented homes, this is the last policy you would pick to fix it.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
We need a Robin Hood Tax for renters
It's great that Labour is looking at cutting tax breaks for bad private sector landlords, but they should be targeting them all.Read more
Right to Buy is Wrong for Housing
Budget 2015: what does it deliver for renters?
In short, not much. It took 40 minutes for the first mention of housing, behind an announcement of £1million to celebrate the 600 year anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt no less. As well as expected announcements on funding for a London land commission to address ‘the acute housing crisis’ and the 20 housing zones due to be launched to boost house building, there was a surprise announcement of a ‘Help to Buy ISA’.Read more
Renters at higher risk of mental health problems
Renters are 75% more likely to experience serious anxiety and depression than home-owners, according to a Survation poll commissioned by Generation Rent which we are publishing today. Nearly two in five people who rent their home say they have experienced serious anxiety or depression in the past year. One in five (21%) homeowners reported similar experiences.Read more