Council urged to keep social rents and tenancies
A local authority has been told to maintain a commitment to socially rented homes and security of tenure by a commission it set up to assess housing issues.
The Ealing Housing Commission also urges the council to consider selling some of its one-bedroom homes to build more family properties.
Other recommendations include private sector landlord licensing schemes and using freedom that result from the reform of the housing revenue account subsidy system to directly provide housing for private rental or sale. The commission argues this would create cross-subsidy for providing social rented homes.
The commission was set up in March 2011, with members from across the sector, including house builders, politicians, and social landlords. The council will now consider its final report and recommendations.
Overall, the commission identified seven key themes which it felt need addressing in Ealing:
- Meeting need and supporting the most vulnerable
- Residualisation, employment and mixed communities
- Supporting those unable to buy their own home.
David Montague, chief executive of housing association L&Q and a member of the commission, said: ‘Ealing has a clear housing vision and realises that a successful housing policy is one that supports employment and diverse communities, mixed by income, tenure and ethnicity.
‘Our challenge has been to identify ways for Ealing to achieve this vision, whilst simultaneously responding to a rapidly changing policy and funding environment.’
Pat Hayes, executive director of regeneration and housing at Ealing Council, said: ‘Local authorities now need to play a lead role in housing, and crucially must do so in a way that fully involves their local communities and works in partnership with the private sector to achieve the best outcomes.
‘We are taking the next steps to become a significant developer in our own right, utilising the financial benefit that results from council’s ability to retain the ownership of land on which development takes place.’
Inside Housing’s Focus section this week is looking at how councils are planning to respond to reform of the housing revenue account. For more on the subject see our Focus page, or join in the discussion in the forum.