At a glance: The Housing White Paper 2017
We’re going to take a little look at the government’s Housing White Paper 2017, published in February this year. Gloomily titled: “Fixing our broken housing market”, it covers most aspects of the problems facing the country in terms of housing.
The paper outlines the government’s concerns regarding a lack of good quality homes to rent, the lack of diversity in the housing market, and difficulties with the planning process. It also looks at plans to abolish letting agents’ fees, and cracking down on rogue landlords who provide substandard accommodation at exorbitant rents. Also acknowledged is the need to develop on brownfield sites.
The Housing White Paper is a comprehensive document covering a whole range of issues and there are too many to be covered in one article. With this in mind, we have selected three areas we think will be of interest.
The private renting sector
The demand for rented accommodation has increased substantially over the past decade, and the government intends to make it attractive to major investors for investment in new large scale housing projects built exclusively for the rental market. They also intend to encourage local authorities to build to rent, making it easier for developers to build homes that are genuinely affordable to rent. This would greatly increase supply and the choice of good-quality rental accommodation that families will be happy to live in.
Longer tenancy agreements
Are you a tenant keen to rent in the long-term? Another initiative the government intends to pursue is the length of tenancy agreements. At present, many tenants are offered very short agreements of around twelve months. This robs the tenant of a feeling of security and stability. The government means to introduce schemes that will offer tenancy agreements of three years or more if tenants want them. Longer tenancies will benefit both tenants with security of tenure, and landlords, who will be guaranteed three years or more of rental income, reducing the risk of void periods.
The diversity of housing stock
Encouraging diversity in the housing market is another way the government aims to fix the current housing crisis. The government is concerned about the decline of houses being built by small to medium house builders. The number of homes built by small builders declined from 44, 000 in 2007 to a low of 18,000 in 2015. These figures have convinced the government there is growth in this market. To assist in encouraging this growth, there are plans to simplify some of the planning rules small builders claim make it hard for them to get projects moving.
Custom-built homes is another issue of note. Many people design and either build them themselves or hire a building company to undertake the work. To support this divarication programme, the government has introduced their New Accelerated Construction Programme. This will operate through partnering with builders of all sizes, and will see homes being built more quickly than they have in the past.
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As already mentioned, the Housing White Paper is a comprehensive document and covers much more than we have touched on in this article, such as the reforms of some planning laws to make it easier and quicker to get new homes built, and the need to construct and develop the infrastructure necessary to support these new developments. All of these issues, among others, are explained in the White Paper.
What next for the issues discussed in the Housing White Paper? The paper has to be debated in Parliament before the recommendations contained in it can be passed into law.
If you are looking to buy, sell, let or rent property in Islington, Stoke Newington, Highbury, or Newington Green, please contact us with your requirements or for further advice and guidance.