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Recently the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) published the monthly cost of privately rented properties in London.1 Some of the figures are quite eye watering, even for those who do not see themselves as being in a low income bracket. Monthly rents for a three bedroom house in London include £2,308 in Tower Hamlets and £1,383 in Barking and Dagenham, with no prize going for guessing which borough topped the list. And this is before other living expenses.
“On average, those buying their home with a mortgage spent 18% of their household income on mortgage payments whereas rent payments were 28% of household income for social renters and 35% of household income for private renters”, according to the English Housing Survey 2015/16.2
So with CIPFA’s Housing Conference just around the corner, where the central theme is delivering more homes, it is timely to revisit the issues faced by low income tenants in the private rented sector and remind ourselves why getting more social homes built is a good idea.
Having a safe and affordable home is fundamental for people. It is recognised in Maslow’s hierarchy of need as part of the foundation. Without an address, people have difficulty in gaining work, accessing services such as education and health or contributing as part of the community. The challenges of the housing market in the UK are well rehearsed and the options open to people wanting homes are often limited, so the private rented sector, which accounts for 4.5 million or 20% of the households, is frequently used.
While many are very satisfied with the private rented sector, there are a number of tenants, especially households on low incomes, who experience difficulties such as the following:
With these difficulties being recognised it is not surprising that CIPFA’s Housing Conference is looking at how the public sector and its housing association partners can build more properties. The sector is motivated and eager to move forward to meet the challenge and over the next year we will be following the impact of the policies announced in the autumn Budget and working with stakeholders and colleagues to maximise current opportunities.