Right to Rent
Rents and house prices are sky high and we face an acute shortage of affordable homes. That is why Leeds Tenants Federation’s Right to Rent campaign is calling for a major boost to social rented house building.
- Social rented housing is a tenure of choice for many people and not just a tenure of last resort
- An affordable homes policy needs a healthy social rented sector to provide a full range of housing options
- The growth of local and regional economies depends on increasing the provision of social rented housing.
- Savings in health costs, and other public services will be made in the long term if enough social rented housing can be built
The Right to Rent campaign is calling for a national construction programme to build at least 67,000 social rented homes a year (Shelter's Homes for the Future target). We are calling on decision-makers to recognise that more social rented housing is needed as a matter of acute urgency. Home-ownership is not an option for at least 30% of the population. Inflated house prices are compounded by high deposits demanded by the banks.
To buy the lowest priced house in Leeds you need a yearly salary of over £40,000. Most of the new jobs created in Leeds are in the low paid service sector. Studies show you would need four of these jobs to be able to buy a home.
We believe that social renting is a tenure of choice not a tenure of last resort. It should not be reserved only for those who are most vulnerable. Social rented housing provides quality and security for all and it should be available to everyone who needs it. Housing is a basic right and its supply and cost cannot be just left to the market
Leeds' Housing Market Assessment suggests that at least 1,889 affordable homes need to be built each year for at least the next 6 years to keep up with demand. In 2007/08 only 182 affordable homes were built with help from the Affordable Homes Programme.
Meanwhile, in the same year, social landlords lost 469 of their homes under the Right to Buy.
Over 24,000 people are on the council housing waiting list in Leeds, but less than 7000 homes became available for letting in the council and housing association sector. There are 1.7 million households waiting for social rented housing across the country but only 45,000 homes were built nationally in the Affordable Homes Programme.
The Coalition Government has now slashed the National Affordable Homes Programme, and iced many housing projects. Projected cuts to public spending may mean 65% less social housing gets built.
Horror stories like these in Leeds are bound to increase:
“There are five of us here in a 2 bed flat and although we love the flat we need another bedroom. We’ve been told you can now choose where you want to live but when a house comes up on this estate, I am told there’s no chance whatsoever of getting it, we have to widen our area and move away.”
“For two years my son has been bidding for a home, making three bids a week. He currently lives between family and friends, mostly sleeping on a sofa – not much good for a bus driver and what 34 year old really wants to live with his Mother?”
“I have been trying to get a transfer since July 2005. I only have General Needs despite having 3 girls aged from 11 to 14 and a step son age 21 with cystic fibrosis who sleeps on the sofa in the living room”
“I have been on the Leeds housing register since October 2004 and supposedly priority since October 2005. I am living in a 2 bedroom back-to-back house, currently sharing one bedroom with my 17 year old daughter and 11 year old son, my sister and her daughter occupy the second bedroom.”
Policy & Campaigns In Depth