143 Review of Potential Opportunities for Delivering More Homes at Social Rent Levels PDF 160 KB
The Executive Member for Neighbourhoods submitted a report that gave Overview and Scrutiny Members sight of the first draft of the Strategic Priority 1 action plan and work carried out by Officers in consultation with various partners on potential opportunities for providing more affordable homes with lower rents.
The Executive Member for Neighbourhoods said that the strategic action plan provided the context for the important work to enable, where at all possible, more homes with social rents to come forward. Members were referred to appendix two for a detailed discussion of ten potential opportunities for this to occur. The Executive Member said that some 75% of existing affordable homes for rent that were re-let in East Herts during 2021/22 had social rents rather than affordable rents.
The Executive Member for Neighbourhoods said that the independent study conducted out by the Housing Quality Network in 2020, along with further analysis carried out by Officers, both showed the benefits of greater numbers of homes with social rents. He thanked Officers for their efforts in exploring this subject and said that he was committed to exploring all options for providing more homes for social rent.
Councillor Wilson said that if there was an increase in the amount of social housing compared to other types of affordable housing, there should then be fewer cases of homelessness. He asked about the relationship between the availability of social housing and the level of homelessness.
The Executive Member for Neighbourhoods said that the causes of homelessness were numerous and complex and there was no widely recognised relationship between the availability of social housing at whatever rent level and the level of homelessness. He said that it was worth noting that rent arrears typically accounts for less than 1 in 5 cases of homelessness in East Herts. Members were advised of the more frequent reasons including the private landlord needing a property back or friends and family no longer being able to accommodate a household.
CouncillorGoldspink asked how social rent could be set at 50% of local market rent if market rent did not have a bearing on social rent. The Executive Member for Neighbourhoods said that social rents were set based on a nationally defined formulae that did not factor in market rent. The Head of Housing and Health said that there were two regimes for setting rents and he explained these regimes for Members.
Councillor Kemp asked if Members could have more background information about the 75% relets at social rent on the basis of whether people were moving house and keeping social rent levels or were Housing Associations voluntarily setting social rent.
Councillor Kemp asked that, in relation to the people on housing benefit, was there a way that the Council could set rents at affordable levels if the Government was covering the cost of their rent to maximise income.
Councillor Kemp asked if there were any opportunities to allow tenants who paid their rent on time and were good tenants to be ... view the full minutes text for item 143