University research to shape the future of renting is being launched with the help of Futures Housing Group.
The East Midlands-based housing association is part-funding a London School of Economics (LSE) research project which aims to support private landlords and improve conditions for tenants.
Figures from Shelter show that one in three of the five million privately rented homes in the UK are ‘non-decent’, with many offering only six or 12 months contracts, limiting stability for renters.
To help tackle this problem Futures will also share expertise on supporting tenants and providing quality homes to shape the future of the national rental market.
Lindsey Williams, chief executive at Futures, said: “We’re committed to shaping the wider housing offer across the East Midlands and supporting residents of all incomes to enjoy a safe, affordable home. While we know many private landlords maintain their properties well and safeguard their renters’ rights, unfortunately some simply take advantage of people’s desperation for a home.
“As well as developing our own homes for sale, shared ownership and private rent, we want to work with others to increase standards across the board.
“We look forward to seeing the outcome of the research project and helping to shape the implementation of its recommendations. The report will be invaluable to us and others in the housing sector.”
Involvement in the project follows Futures’ work with the Homes and Communities Agency to bring more than 80 empty properties back into use by working with private landlords and supporting them with grants for improvement works.
The social landlord has also launched a commercial development company, Limehouse, to offer homes for sale, market rent and shared ownership.
Researchers from LSE will work with the Residential Landlords Association, Shelter, Crisis, local authorities, housing associations and national housing bodies to identify ways social landlords can support the private rented sector.
Professor Anne Powers, who is leading the LSE research project, said: “Private renting plays an ever bigger role in housing low-income families and vulnerable people. It needs to be more affordable, secure and better quality.
“Social landlords can play a bigger role in making this happen – and many are already doing so. LSE Housing and Communities’ research into private renting aims to uncover what is currently happening, and how and why social landlords can do more”.