Social House building

Problem:

  • The sale of housing through (right to buy) RTB and not replacing it has reduced available housing stock. There are not enough social houses available.

Potential Solutions

  • Fully support national Labour Party (LP) policy of house building programme.
  • End RTB for new build properties.
  • Build properties for BDC, not for PRP.
  • Ensure house building is also for elderly and disabled people.
  • BDC should consider using this to commence its own house building schemes.

Since 30 Oct 18 the cap on local authority borrowing has been lifted – what is BDC planning on doing with that?

Problem:

  • Lack of regulation/accountability of PRPs within BDC to ensure that the standard of their accommodation is suitable, and that they are acting appropriately as landlords

As BDC has sold all its stock to PRP what control and influence does BDC have on PRP to regulate them? Can/does BDC sit on PRP panels?

Potential Solutions

  • Have a tenant structure that informs BDC who then communicate with PRP on behalf of the tenants.
  • Introduce some accountability between BDC and PRP.
  • Given tenants a voice on how the PRP operates – eg have incentive schemes with the PRP local office to have active tenant’s associations.
  • Run a survey of tenants looking at tenant satisfaction with the way that are treated: a league table of good and bad landlords (could be done by YouGov poll)
  • Ensure that there is a Council Officer who oversees the quality of the PRP stock.
  • Renationalise all the housing stock!

Empty properties

Problem

  • Second homes, holiday lets, vacant properties sitting in BDC unused. (BDC say that it’s about 265 houses – only 0.96% of the houses in BDC)

What is BDC’s method for identifying empty properties, and then enforcing it.

Potential Solutions

  • Inspect empty homes
  • Change Council Tax regulations to increase CT on empty homes
  • Use compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) more to recover empty homes.
  • Use Empty Dwelling Management Orders to let them out.

Second homes

Problem

  • New developments are purchased as second homes, pricing local residents out of the market.
  • This is increasing as the problem spreads down from NNDC

Potential Solution

  • Introduce rules around who can buy those developments, ie people with a local connection to the area (already residents, or have family in the area, grew up here etc)

Affordable housing

Problem

  • The average house price is many times higher than the average salary.
  • Houses being built do not match the need of the district.
  • ‘Affordable’ is being calculated according to the incorrect criteria, and needs to be connected to average salary, not average house price.
  • Viability loophole of the builders’ means only 28% of developments are being built.

Potential Solutions

  • Require higher % of properties in a new build development to be genuinely affordable.
  • Be robust in challenging claims about the ‘viability’ loop hole.
  • Build affordable housing in developments with other properties but:
    • Make them all look the same so that you can’t tell the poorer end of the development from the other
    • Build fewer luxury homes
    • Build homes for the many, not the few!
    • Build for the disabled and elderly

Infrastructure

Problem

  • Where new developments are being built onto existing villages, infrastructure is not being increased to match.
  • Need to study the GNLP in more detail to see what the impact in BDC areas is. (Coltishall is about to be hit hard!)

Potential Solution

  • Ensure that access to schools/GPs/dentists and other services keep pace with the size of developments.

Energy efficient homes

Problem

  • Houses are being built to a standard that is not energy efficient, or is not as energy efficient as it could be.

Potential Solutions

  • All new builds (social/affordable/other) should automatically have solar panels and electric vehicle charging points
  • Review regulations regarding space standards, energy standards, insulation, and enforce the existing regs and improve on others.

Security of tenure

Problem

  • Six month tenancies where the landlord can end it giving only two-months notice and no reason is outrageous.
  • It is also the number two cause of homelessness (behind relationship breakdown)

Potential Solutions

  • Support LP policy for longer tenancies
  • Consider landlord incentive schemes – work with estate agents
  • Have BDC’s Private sector leasing (PSL) team offer longer tenancies.

Affordable rented housing

Problem

  • Private tenancies are too expensive
  • There is a huge shortfall between the cost of rented accommodation and the amount of housing benefit (local housing allowance – LHA) that can be claimed.
  • ‘No DSS’ adverts preventing tenants on housing benefit from renting privately.
  • Rogue landlords

Potential Solutions

  • Introduce rent caps
  • Use the existing pot of money in DHP /HPF (discretionary housing payments/ homelessness prevention fund) to top up the shortfall between LHA and the amount of the rent.
  • Landlord incentive schemes / PSL to get landlords to agree to rent at the LHA rate.
  • Ensure that Universal Credit pays directly to landlords (National policy)
  • Landlord incentives/PSL where BDC is the guarantor for the tenant on LHA.
  • Ensure that there is a landlord licence, or a database of rogue landlords, and ban landlords from renting in the district (this is supposed to be happening).

Homelessness

Problem

  • Lack of temporary accommodation for homeless households.
  • Use of hotels for temporary accommodation
  • Use of temporary accommodation that is out of the area

Potential Solution

  • Have a procurement policy for how BDC is going to acquire suitable accommodation that is
    • In BDC area
    • Not hotels
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