Affordable Rent proposals neither ‘flexible nor local’

The former executive director of tenants services at the Tenant Services Authority (TSA) says the Government’s Affordable Rent proposals released yesterday by the TSA are “neither local nor flexible”.

Yesterday the TSA launched the consultation on Affordable Rent, which will alllow private registered providers (PRPs):

• To set rents at up to 80% of local market rents
• Greater flexibility in the use of tenancies

The rent flexibilities will be subject to certain requirements and available only when Private Registered Providers agree a delivery programme of new supply with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The proposals outline that if PRPs want to succesfully bid for the cash from the HCA for new build, compliance will be necessary. Compliance means four areas of agreement – affordable rents on new properties, disposals, affordable rents on vacant properties and flexible tenancies. Housing associations will have to agree a programme of development in these areas to access funds.

Writing exclusively for 24Housing magazine, Phil Morgan said the approach will be better at maximising uptake of Government policy than it will maximising new build. He said: “The approach is neither local nor flexible at all – in reality affordable rents, disposals and flexible tenancies are all controlled by the TSA and HCA. More worryingly the potential squeeze on vacant properties and new build being directed towards those who can pay affordable rents means there will be even less homes available for those unable to pay. Those people still need housing.”

Read Phil Morgan’s column in the January issue of 24housing magazine. Subscribe here.