Too few low-cost rental homes being built, says report

by Gary Whittaker

Landlords and letting agents will be well aware that many of their tenants are people on low incomes, who often face very challenging financial situations and may sometimes require forbearance when it comes to paying the rent - as well as affordable accomodation.

The nature of this challenge is clear enough and so too is its persistence, due to the shortfall in housing across the UK.

A new report out this week has indicated that these challenges are set to remain in place, as too few low-cost social homes are being built. This means many low-income households will remain reliant on the private rental sector. 

The latest Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) analysis published this week indicates that nearly 600 affordable rented homes need to be built every week. Plans announced by the government to increase supply this month will only deliver around 100, it estimates. 

On the basis of this apparent gulf between need and delivery, the shortfall in England will be 355,000 over the course of the current parliament - assuming it lasts until 2022. The JRF has called on ministers to use the forthcoming social housing green paper to commit to building 78,000 affordable homes a year. 

The JRF described the rents being paid by some families in private rental properties - especially in London and the south - as "eye-watering". It noted many of these tenants live in marginal seats and constituencies where government ministers are MPs.

JRF chairman Campbell Robb said: "The prime minister has recognised that the housing market is broken and it’s welcome that the government wants to get the country building the homes we desperately need. 

"But this must include homes that people on low incomes can afford. The government’s existing plans risk falling far short of the numbers of affordable homes required to ease the strain on families facing eye-watering private rents."

According to the JRF analysis, private rents are unaffordable for low earners in 53 per cent of English local authority areas. 

Clearly landlords and agents in such areas, particularly London, will need to keep a close eye on rental costs. 

Find out more about letting agency softwareADNFCR-1064-ID-801844908-ADNFCR

21-February-18General Lettings News