Sarah Webb, CIH chief executive, says: “The "in-betweens" do everything the government asks – working and generally not claiming benefits – but they have been forgotten when it comes to their housing needs and aspirations. This idea that an Englishman’s home is their castle gained momentum in the 1980s with right-to-buy, and then post the 1990s downturn when people saw owning a home as not just somewhere to live but also an investment.
She said: "The report shows that home ownership is out of reach for a lot of people and we need to move to a situation where renting is a positive choice. A golden age of home ownership is coming to an end. The time has come to move away from the notion of ‘right-to-buy’ and ‘wrong-to-rent’.”
The CIH report finds real scope for social housing providers to widen their role and create a range of rented housing options, often described as price points, to match local markets. It considers the need for a new approach to development and provision of rented housing. This includes looking at whether intermediate levels of rent, currently in a very embryonic form in the sector, could give strength to affordable housing by better meeting the short and long term needs of more households.
Abigail Davies, CIH Head of Policy and co-author of the report said; “There is real potential for social housing providers to be creative and draw on their existing expertise to look at new approaches and develop a wider range of rented housing options.
“’Widening the rental housing market’ shows how new approaches can deliver real benefits for both housing supply and households’ experiences of affordable homes. The sector’s desire to try new things to tackle the country’s housing and economic challenges is clear and is embodied in the recent CIH Housing Pact.
“We urge policy makers to think beyond new development and look to manage existing stock in different ways to help raise additional finance and improve the housing offer the sector can make to a greater range of households.”
The work is supported by L&Q Housing Association who offer ‘Up To You’, a flexible rent to purchase scheme which helps L&Q to meet the varying needs of the people who contact them about access to their homes.
Nic Bealey, Group Director of Strategy, Marketing & Sales, at L&Q said; “The CIH report raises important questions and provides some thoughtful analysis on an important area of policy debate.
“We are pleased to have been able to contribute to this discussion as strong advocates of the intermediate sector, recognising that there are increasing numbers of people who rely on intermediate renting and purchase products as their only way of accessing good quality housing.
“Housing Associations have a key role to play in expanding and developing these options at a time of increasing pressure on public funding, where innovation and new approaches will be vital to success.”
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