Over the past few decades, social housing has gone through major changes. With rent control and other similar policies, its future seems to be worrying. Now that the government is already preparing a report that will regulate to prevent lifetime tenancies, there is little hope left for social housing.
The new regulations would mean that a landlord would be restricted to offer a house for rent for a period exceeding five years. After the expiry of this period, landlord will need to switch tenants. There are numerous issues with this new enactment and it can possibly hurt the social housing market.
Is the future of social housing in doubt?
In many ways, the future of social housing is threatened. With a rise in rent control policies and new regulations, the government is trying to refashion social housing. As a result, it could turn out to be only an emergency service for those in the greatest need of housing.
Since the housing units are low in supply and the demand is high, the government is trying to keep tenancy in regular cycle so that the people in greatest need occupy available units. The most attractive features of social housing, affordability and security, seem to be missing from modern social housing policies. As it stands, security seems to be a reward only for those who own their own home.
The affordability of social housing is being undermined by funding reforms. There are also cuts to housing benefits that have made a major difference on the cost of social housing. Since the government is charging up to 80% of the market value and has implemented bedroom tax, social housing is not a safety net any more.
It is difficult to see funding from central government being made available for the low cost housing. With some funding already cut in the past, there is rarely any hope that it will come back to social housing. Instead, there is every chance that the funding will possibly go towards shared ownership.
There was legislation that used to bind builders to build affordable housing when they were developing a society greater than a certain size. This necessary supply of affordable housing ensured that there are always plenty of homes for low-income families. However, such legislation isn’t in force now and there is no protection for low-income families.
Considering all the indications above, it’s hard to conclude that the government sees any future in social housing. There will always be some residual stock but it is difficult to see how private rented sector will allow of affordable housing in the future.
Is there any hope in the future for social housing?
There is hope even when everything seems dark. There are numerous social housing projects around the world that indicate passion for social housing. Some of these projects are so incredible that they have started inspiring a lot of social housing organizations around the world. These projects have build eco-friendly and energy efficient homes that are sustainable and yet they are affordable.