Instead of building more rented social housing in high concentrations on housing estates we should build these as integral parts of all the new-build communities that we construct.
Those renting socially-provided housing would then be seen as a part of society and could be taken into the bosom of that society.
If the country actually does need as much as 100,000 extra houses per year for the social rental sector, as has recently been claimed, it would be essential, both from a planning viewpoint and a society one, that those whom are dwelling in them should be located within our communities and not sectioned off as if to be marginalised on separate and distinct estates as occurred in post-war Britain. Otherwise, doing that would tend to attract what is bad about those requiring such help instead of helping them to be fully fledged members of a truly modern society.
The cost of integrating this social rental sector in the next new housing estates to be constructed would, most likely, be less in financial terms than if building complete estates of social housing, as used to happen.
However, the key thing should be to manage the social housing part separately from the present arrangements for private landlords, who let property to those wishing to rent privately.
Unlike privately rented housing, rent-levels for social housing should be set and collected by councils and/or housing associations and not by private landlords.
It ought to be expected that rent-levels set by social housing associations should, over time, influence the rent-levels being set in the private sector and this would be another advantage to having such properties spread out within the whole of the housing provision, across Britain.
More private investment in supplying housing accommodation to rent must be encouraged and so ‘Right to Buy’ options for all these tenants would be unsuitable because the housing market now depends upon the supply of this form of housing if sufficient accommodation is to be provided for residential tenants requiring accommodation for themselves and their families.
It is likely that if the ‘Right to Buy’ strategy was applied to these, large swaths of privately rented housing (if not sold to tenants), would simply be withdrawn by the owners and disappear overnight. This would leave a serious supply shortage for those currently unable to buy houses outright or to qualify for social housing.
I would argue that anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t fully understand the complexities of the housing marketplace operating in Britain today. Whilst I can see why an argument in favour of this could be made, I would be happy to debate this to see which proposal is best. What is required instead is a way to re-evaluate house prices such that actual affordability is properly taken into account. There is only one way in which that could be achieved.
For full information about what it is that I am advocating ought to be done instead, please see:
Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author:– The House Price Virtuoso Solution
The best way to improve the Housing Markets in England and Wales.