Secure tenancies for life stifle aspiration and should be scrapped, according to a new report from the think tank established by former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith.
The report, produced by a Centre for Social Justice working group chaired by Notting Hill Housing chief executive Kate Davies, suggests a number of radical reforms to social housing. These include offering tenants who make a ‘genuine effort’ to find work equity stakes in their home.
Social landlords should also sell off homes that are worth more on the private market than they are as social housing, it recommends.
The report says the current system allows tenants to escape the realities of the housing market - and excludes them from opportunity.
‘The period in which a tenant finds themselves in social housing must be used to build aspiration, not stifle it,’ the report says. This can mean that social housing is a step on the property ladder, used for shorter periods of time to help people in a crisis or to overcome homelessness.
‘In order to allow mobility in the social housing market place we must end the stifling requirement that social housing tenancy be secure for life, and alter it so that it can adapt to the needs and aspirations of the tenant,’ it says.
The report claims the current system ‘effectively destroys’ the value of the housing stock, with the average value of a housing association home in London around £250,000 but just £44,000 once it is let to a social tenant. Its recommendations would ‘compel councils and social landlords to take far greater account of the current value of the housing assets they own and in deciding how their investments should be used’.
Allocations systems should also be overhauled to allow landlords to use housing ‘as they see fit’.
At a briefing this week Mr Duncan Smith said social housing was no longer the ‘tenure of choice for the aspirational working class’.
‘People living in social housing really had no other choice,’ he added.