Call for affordable rental homes to help families trapped in 'insecure' PRS

A housing charity has called for the government to build more affordable social homes for rent to help families 'trapped' in the 'expensive' and 'insecure' private rented sector (PRS).

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) says almost 600 additional low-cost rental homes need to be built each week to help low-income families. 

In its latest analysis, however, the organisation claims that the government only plans to deliver 100 low-cost rental homes - one-sixth of the additional supply it deems necessary. 

According to the research, private rents are unaffordable for low earners in 53% of the country. In 171 of 323 local authorities in England, the cheapest rents are unaffordable for residents in the bottom 25% of local earnings, claims JRF.

Westminster in London has the most unaffordable rents, taking up an average of 77% of the pay packet of a low-paid resident. 

In many areas of London, the South East and the Home Counties, rents account for up to 40% of low earners' monthly pay.

The charity's analysis claims that unless the government ups its supply of low-cost rental homes, England will see a shortfall of 335,000 affordable homes by the end of the current Parliament.

The government is due to publish a green paper on social housing and the JRF is urging it to consider a commitment to building 78,000 affordable homes a year.

It says doing so would ease the pressure on families trapped in the PRS.

The latest English Housing Survey, released at the end of January, revealed that the PRS now accounts for a fifth of all households, including almost two million families with children and is now the largest housing tenure in London.

JRF's analysis states that 78,000 (1,500 each week) new affordable rented homes are required to meet demand in England each year. On average, since 2011, 47,520 affordable homes have been built each year. This equates to a shortfall of 182,880 homes over six years, meaning 577 new affordable homes are needed each week to make up the average 30,000 shortfall.

“The Prime Minister has recognised that the housing market is broken and it’s welcome that the government wants to get the country building the homes we desperately need. But this must include homes that people on low incomes can afford,” says Campbell Robb, chief executive of Joseph Rowntree Foundation and formerly of Shelter. 

“The government’s existing plans risk falling far short of the numbers of affordable homes required to ease the strain on families facing eye-watering private rents.”

“Voters across all wage brackets want to see action on housing and it is simply not right that so many people in our country are locked out of the opportunity to build a decent and secure life because of crippling housing costs,” he says.

“The forthcoming social housing green paper must commit to increasing the supply of low-cost rented homes.”

JRF's full analysis is available here.

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    Hopefully the JRF might realise that the impending ban on fees is going to make the PRS even more expensive for tenants, not less.


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