A fairer deal for renters – new homes for living rent move a step closer
The first new Hackney Council homes for a living rent could be available in Homerton later this year to support private renters struggling with rising rents, in new proposals announced today.
Under plans to be considered by the Council’s Cabinet on 29 April, eight homes at the Council’s Bridge House development on Homerton High Street would be let at a genuinely affordable living rent – rather than being sold on the open market.
Rents would be set at a third of average local incomes – around £900 per month for a two-bedroom property in Homerton. With the equivalent average market rent around £1,800 per month, tenants could save nearly £11,000 a year by renting from the Council.
The Council would let and manage the homes itself through a wholly-owned, not-for-profit company as part of its #BetterRenting campaign – meaning that as well as a discounted rent, tenants can be sure they won’t face unwarranted fees and charges or excessive rent increases.
Building homes for living rent is one of a range of measures the Council is taking to improve standards and affordability for private renters in Hackney. Successes so far include the abolition of ‘section 21’ no-fault evictions, pressuring the Government into banning letting fees and introducing Hackney’s own voluntary ban, as well as extending property licensing to tackle rogue landlords.
I’m proud that Hackney is building genuinely affordable Council housing for families in desperate need of somewhere to live, but I’m determined that we will also step in to support private renters trapped in a cycle of rocketing rents and poor conditions.
These new homes will do just that – providing a more affordable option to rent a modern, high-quality home while saving money towards a deposit or household bills.
Hackney’s 34,000 renters deserve a fairer deal, and whether it’s building our own genuinely affordable homes, enforcing against rogue landlords, or pushing the Government to take radical action, we’re committed to doing everything we can to make renting in our borough better.
The discounted living rent charged on homes at Bridge House – part of the Council’s own housebuilding programme – will be subsidised by acquiring and letting 25 homes, built by its partner Anthology as part of the regeneration of the Colville Estate in Hoxton, at market rent. These homes, equivalent to the value of a final cash payment owed to the Council by Anthology, will also be let through the Council’s wholly-owned company, ensuring tenants are not charged letting or other fees, and have longer tenancies with capped rent increases.
Hackney Council is building nearly 2,000 homes itself between 2018 and 2022, with the majority for social rent and shared ownership. Any homes for living rent will be those that would otherwise have been sold outright, meaning no reduction in the number of Council homes for social rent being delivered.
To be eligible, applicants for the new living rent homes must be renting or working in Hackney, have a household income of less than £60,000, and be unable to buy a home in their local area to be eligible to apply – although these initial criteria will be subject to a full consultation in the coming months. The homes will not be available to buy.
Government restrictions mean the Council can’t directly own or let homes for living rent, and so it has instead set up a wholly-owned, not-for-profit company to do this on its behalf. Any surplus income generated will be reinvested in Council housebuilding, and the company will have no third-party involvement, be fully accountable to the Mayor and the Council’s Cabinet, and be run by a board made up of council staff.
To register your interest in a living rent home with Hackney Council, visit the Hackney Sales website.