The LGA’s view is that the best way to increase housing security is to address the unaffordability of housing, which is a key reason why many people lose their tenancy and become homeless.
- The Local Government Association recognises the need for measures to improve housing security for tenants: everyone deserves a safe, secure and affordable place to live - it is critical for health and wellbeing.
- The private rented sector has doubled in the last 20 years, and now accounts for 19 per cent of households in England, including an increasing proportion of young people, families and lone parent families.
- Around one third of all families that councils accepted as homeless last year were made homeless by the ending of an assured shorthold tenancy, and the Government’s proposals to improve housing security are therefore timely.
- However, in order for Government to successfully implement its proposals, it should consider which lessons can be learned for monitoring and enforcement from previous reforms, e.g. measures aimed at improving security in the private rented sector introduced via the Deregulation Act 2015.
- Careful consideration will also need to be given to potential unintended consequences – in particular, a potential restriction of low-income households’ ability to access homes in the private rented sector. This could have a severe net impact on levels of homelessness.
- The LGA’s view is that the best way to increase housing security is to address the unaffordability of housing, which is a key reason why many people lose their tenancy and become homeless. To do this, the Government needs to reform Right to Buy so that councils can build more genuinely affordable homes, by allowing councils to keep 100 per cent of receipts from homes sold to reinvest in housing delivery. Government should also realign Local Housing Allowance rates with at least the 30th percentile of local rental markets so that rates help people to cover the cost of their rent.
- The LGA has not responded to the consultation questions in detail, but instead set out our broad views below. These views, as they relate to the scope and detail of proposals, are contingent on the potential wider impact of proposals having been alleviated.