Homes for NHS workers... Possibly? Maybe? Perhaps?

Last year, the Department for Health commissioned Sir Robert Naylor to produce an independent report into NHS property – including how to make best use of its land. The resulting report flew under the radar of all but the most diligent, but it contained some incredibly interesting insights into what could happen to NHS land.

On 30 January, the government accepted the majority of Naylor’s recommendations. This includes utilising surplus NHS land to make a financial contribution to estate improvement. … Read more

Local viability policy part 2: What should councils be doing about the viability loophole?

Part one of this blog looked at the councils getting tough on viability assessments. Faced with acute shortages of affordable housing, councils like Bristol City are pulling out all the stops to strengthen their position in Section 106 negotiations with developers. But the development of local policy to limit the damage being done by viability assessments is still in its early stages. Urban councils in areas of high housing demand in the south of England have been much more likely … Read more

Local viability policy part 1: ‘We are pushing the system as hard as we can, but it’s a rigged system.’

Those are the words of Bristol City Council’s cabinet member for housing, Paul Smith, describing his city’s battle against the viability loophole. In 2017, we showed how viability assessments are depriving local communities of the homes they need – with 2,500 affordable homes lost in just one year across just eleven councils.

http://blog.shelter.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/OBR-2048_NCH_Viability_animation-FINAL.mp4

 

Since then, the idea that developers need to cut affordable homes from schemes to make them profitable has become even less credible. The top developers … Read more

The English Housing Survey

Today saw the release of the English Housing Survey (EHS) – the most important source we have for understanding the housing crisis. This government survey collects details on the quality and conditions of the homes households live in. This includes the cost and affordability of those homes.

As the survey has been running for 50 years (in various forms), it’s an invaluable record of how the situation of English households has changed over time.

Home ownership down

An Englishman’s home … Read more

Shelter’s Big Conversation on the future of social housing

The Grenfell fire not only left an indelible mark on the community of North Kensington, but also sent shockwaves through the rest of the country. It’s notable that the fire quickly became viewed not just as a terrible, avoidable tragedy, but also indicative of broader concerns about inequality and poor housing.

The public debate after the fire quickly centred on the allegation that residents’ concerns had been ignored. This led to the suspicion that people living in social housing were … Read more

Cross-party support sees Fitness Bill safely through second reading

On Friday 19 January, MPs debated the second reading of the Fitness for Human Habitation Bill. The bill passed unanimously after a positive and constructive debate, which saw MPs from all the major parties speak in support of it. We’ve been campaigning hard to get to this point, so were delighted to see the bill clear this important hurdle.

The debate covered some well-trodden ground. MPs took turns to share stories of constituents living in shockingly poor and unsafe accommodation. … Read more

Inching towards better land value sharing

These are exciting times for the select-but-growing band of Westminster-watchers interested in the role land value plays in our housing crisis – and in the wider economy.

Just before Christmas, there was the launch of a new All Party Parliamentary Group on Land Value Capture, chaired by Sir Vince Cable. Then the Communities and Local Government (CLG) committee launched an inquiry into the ‘effectiveness of current land value capture methods’. This sort of language may not set pulses … Read more

London’s missing homes: why can’t we turn planning permissions into houses?

Yesterday, London First released the latest round of their analysis of planning and housebuilding in London. The headline is stark – almost one in two planning permissions in London aren’t turning into actual homes.

The scale of the problem

A total of 54,941 new homes received planning permission in London during 2014. Planning permissions generally last three years before they expire – so we would expect these to have been built or at least started by the end of 2017. … Read more

What will take longer, banning letting agent fees or Brexit?

The ban on letting agent fees is now unlikely to come into force until Spring 2019 at the earliest. This is according to the latest update from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Spring 2019 will be nearly two and a half years since the government announced its intention to ban fees. This also, somewhat surprisingly, means it will have taken longer to design and implement the ban on letting agent fees, than for the government to negotiate … Read more

Alok Sharma: Our man in DWP?

When Alok Sharma accepted the job of housing minister in the summer, he liked to joke that the average life cycle of a housing minister was about ten months.

Last week he was shuffled out of the role without quite reaching that modest milestone, to be replaced with Dominic Raab.

There’s a debate to be had about whether the constant reshuffling of housing ministers is consistent with a government commitment to address the housing crisis. Although it’s worth noting that … Read more

Fitness for Human Habitation: Government support for new rights for renters

The government announced its support for the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill, which has its crucial second reading in the House of Commons on 19 January. It is very exciting that the government is putting its weight behind the new measures. They’ll help help to ensure that all rented homes in England are safe, and give tenants the right to take legal action against landlords who fail to fulfil their duties.

Cross-party support Read more
Fitness for Human Habitation: The countdown begins…

Today, Parliament published the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standard) Bill ahead of its Second Reading next week. The countdown has officially begun. This time next week, we will know whether the Bill has progressed to the next stage or not.

For the Bill to pass, it’s crucial that 100 MPs attend the debate next Friday. If they don’t, just one MP could block the Bill. This happened to a previous version of the ‘Fitness’ Bill … Read more