SHELTER AND MAYOR OF LONDON LAUNCH LOAN SCHEME FOR PRIVATE RENTERS
A scheme in London offering workers an interest free loan to pay for their deposit on a rented home is being rolled out across the country.
The scheme was pioneered by housing and homelessness charity Shelter and the Mayor of London last year, with the Department for Communities and Local Government becoming the first in Whitehall to adopt it and securing cross-Government support to introduce it.
It is backed by housing minister Brandon Lewis and works like the season ticket loan programme already offered by many employers to help commuters pay for their travel costs.
At an event to roll out the scheme. it was announced that The Co-operative Group will be the first major employer to offer it to their 70,000-plus employees across the UK. The initiative is also being taken up by the Department for Communities and Local Government, The Confederation of British Industry, London First and the London Chamber of Commerce, among others.
As housing costs put pressure on renters’ finances, the Mayor and Shelter are now calling on employers throughout the capital and the country to adopt the scheme.
Renters in England pay an average of over £1,200 for deposits when they move into privately rented homes, according to recent research. In London, the average rental deposit is £1,859.
The sector has nearly doubled in the country in the last ten years and there are now more than 9 million renters nationwide.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Many people living in private rented accommodation are forced to borrow money to pay for their tenancy deposit and are put in debt before they have even moved into their new home.
“By rolling out this scheme nationally we will be able to ensure that employees can secure a home without enduring unnecessary financial difficulty.”
Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said: ”Finding the money to pay for a deposit shouldn’t stop someone from getting a home for their family.
“But as the cost of housing keeps rising, more and more people are struggling to do just that.
“That’s why, after we successfully piloted the scheme for our own staff last year, we’re now calling on employees across the country to do the same and help their staff move home without breaking the bank.”
Housing minister Brandon Lewis said: “With millions of people across the country renting their home we are determined to create a bigger, better private rented sector that is fair to tenants.
“This move will mean thousands of people will be offered a helping hand to rent privately through season ticket style loans from their employers.
“I hope to see more employers in the public and private sector joining the scheme in the near future.”
While the scheme can be adapted by different employers to suit their needs, in principle, employees are offered interest-free loans to pay their deposits when they move into a privately rented home, which are then paid back through their salary over the course of up to a year.
At an event to roll out the scheme. it was announced that The Co-operative Group will be the first major employer to offer it to their 70,000-plus employees across the UK.
The initiative is also being taken up by the Department for Communities and Local Government, The Confederation of British Industry, London First and the London Chamber of Commerce, among others.
For further information on the scheme, including details for employers on how to sign up, please email [email protected](Source: Mayor of London’s office press release.)
8,000 SOCIAL HOMES LOST IN A DECADE
Estate regeneration schemes are leading to more homes being built – but there is an overall decline in those available for social rent, says a new report.
The report ‘Knock It Down or Do It Up?’ from the London Assembly’s housing committee looks at how to improve the process of regenerating housing estates – including the decision of councils or housing associations to either renovate or demolish the estate.
The report is designed to provide a guide for community groups, councillors and housing professionals to some of the best ways to work together to regenerate estates.
The tips include:
Putting energy into early and comprehensive engagement with residents, as well as the physical build and finances
Holding an independent ballot on any final decision to demolish an estate
Creating a steering group of residents and securing the enthusiasm of community leaders and influencers.
Housing committee chairman Darren Johnson .said: “Market homes play an important role in unlocking investment to plough into creating decent social homes, but the extent of the housing crisis means we need homes for all income groups, not just the well-heeled.
“What’s also clear is that the most popular regeneration schemes are those where councils and housing associations genuinely engage existing residents in decisions, rather than taking important decisions about people’s family homes from behind closed doors.
“We also heard of some examples where providers have gone the extra mile to work with their communities on regeneration schemes, and I hope councils, housing associations and residents will be able to use the report to build a two-way dialogue.” (Source: GLA press release).