Friday again, let’s see what we can find.
Council houses to be built again?
I see from the Conservative Party Conference that Mrs May is going to allow Councils to start building again by removing the cap on how much they can borrow to build.
This has been generally welcomed.
Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, said:
It is fantastic that the Government has accepted our long-standing call to scrap the housing borrowing cap.
We look forward to working with councils and the Government to build those good-quality affordable new homes and infrastructure that everyone in our communities need.
Our national housing shortage is one of the most pressing issues we face and it is clear that only an increase of all types of housing – including those for affordable or social rent – will solve the housing crisis.
The last time this country built homes at the scale that we need now was in the 1970s when councils built more than 40% of them.
Councils were trusted to get on and build homes that their communities needed, and they delivered, and it is great that they are being given the chance to do so again.
The only problem that I can see is that unless the ‘right to buy’ is also scrapped, many of these new homes will be sold off at a massive discount to end up in the hands of private landlords.
Which does not really make any sense if the main point of building them is to make them available at an ‘affordable rent’ to people on lower incomes.
Be careful about discrimination
It looks as if Shelter are going to be bringing a class action against agents who have blanket bans against tenants who are on benefits.
Such blanket discrimination is likely, it seems, to be found to be illegally discriminatory so landlords and agents need to be very careful about this.
Note that landlords whose mortgage companies or leases (if they are renting a property they own on a long lease) forbid letting to tenants on benefits will not be in breach of the law.
Our advice has always been to treat each applicant on their merits. For more guidance see our post here.
A re-think of the housing crisis?
Dawn Foster in the Guardian thinks we should go further than just building more and re-think the whole system. Housing, she suggests, should be provided as a right.
Although this seems radical (she says), so did the National Health Service in the 1940’s. She concludes
Our politicians should be far more radical, given how swiftly people are tiring of profit being put before people. The public mood is ripe for a complete overhaul of the housing market, as the foundations of capitalism look dangerously weak.