Give renting a boost, new housing secretary urged

by Gary Whittaker

The new secretary of state for housing, communities and local government James Brokenshire has been urged to give the rental sector a high priority, by helping to make this option a viable and popular alternative to owner-occupancy.

Build-to-rent developer Moda Living said this would be one of the best things the new minister could do as he takes over the role from Sajid Javid, who has been promoted to home secretary after Amber Rudd's resignation.

Moda's managing director Johnny Caddick said: "Sajid Javid oversaw the biggest policy shift towards the rental sector we have ever seen.

"James Brokenshire must also focus on making renting aspirational, and Moda is delighted to support that effort with a promise of family friendly tenancies, quality homes and a level of management and service that people deserve."

This clearly amounts to a plea for continuity, and that is an issue that that worried Moda and many other organisations operating in the property sector in various ways. 

Mr Caddick expressed concern that another minister in charge of housing - the fourth since 2015 - risks a lack of consistency, with policy priorities shifting. He emphasised that "strong leadership from the government and a consistent approach" is what is needed to tackle the housing crisis. 

This view is not only held by Moda. Aldermore Bank's commercial director of mortgages Charles McDowell also called for Mr Brokenshire to provide a seamless continuation of Mr Javid's approach, arguing that "long-term strategic thinking" is the way to solve a housing crisis that has been created over decades by successive governments and ministers opting for short-term "sticking plaster" policies.

Mark Farmer, the chief executive of real estate and construction consultancy Cast, also expressed concern at the potential impact of the "unplanned" cabinet reshuffle. 

He warned that Mr Brokenshire will need to get on top of his brief swiftly, with issues including not just the number of homes being built, but the quality of new builds and the shortage of skilled labour.

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02-May-18General Lettings News