Futures Housing Group has welcomed university research recommending more government support for housing associations and councils to help ease the housing crisis.
A leading East Midlands landlord has welcomed university research recommending more government support for housing associations and councils to help ease the housing crisis.
In a recently published report, researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) concluded that “light-handed” government regulation and a supportive approach will help the social landlords and councils to expand and improve the private rented sector to support low income families.
The report, Private Renting: Can social landlords help? was partially funded by East Midlands-based Futures Housing Group and includes evidence from 20 social landlords, councils, housing charities and private landlords.
Lindsey Williams, Group Chief Executive at Futures, said: “There is no one approach that will end the UK’s housing crisis so it is important for the private and social sector to work together and learn lessons from each other.
“We welcome the findings and look forward to seeing the recommendations implemented. Solving the housing crisis will take new approaches and I am confident that sharing the experiences of social landlords will help to drive up standards for private renters and ensure even more people have access to a safe and affordable home.”
The research project was led by Professor Anne Power, of LSE’s Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion.
Findings from the 12-month study include:
• Private renting is weakly regulated, offers little security and is increasingly relied on by low income families with children and homeless families via local authorities, and vulnerable people desperate for housing.
• Social landlords have shown that they can break even, or produce a small surplus if they let property at sub-market rents. Peabody, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Wolverhampton Council (via a Tenant Management Organisation) have all demonstrated this.
• With limited grant funding many social landlords are developing intermediate market rentals to house key workers and people on a limited income.
• Social landlords, as major institutional investors, have the potential to make the private rented sector more stable, more secure, more affordable and of better quality. They also have a duty to provide decent quality and secure homes to people who need them and private renting is one way they can do this.
Nearly 20% of all households, including many low income families with children, rely on the private rented sector.
Professor Power said: “Our core conclusion is that long term, slow, stable investment in low cost, secure renting allows social landlords to use their management experience, their existing assets and their capacity to borrow, to expand private renting.
“This would lead to more socially responsible, more stable and therefore more useful private renting. Social landlords can do much more to house lower income households in receipt of Housing Benefit, but able to pay rent reliably with this help.
This is an urgent task and a real opportunity for the sector.”
The research was sponsored by Futures Housing Group, Clarion Housing Group, the Wheatley Group, Poplar Harca, South Yorkshire Housing Association and Crisis. It was also supported by the International Inequalities Institute, based at the LSE.
The report is available here: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/cr/casereport113.pdf.