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Radical changes needed for UK private rented sector - Sir Adrian Montague's review
Inside Housing - Gavriel Hollander
23 August 2012


Radical changes to the UK planning system are needed to stimulate investment in private rented housing, according to an influential government-commissioned review. Sir Adrian Montague's review into overcoming the barriers to institutional investment in the private rented sector, published today, lays out a number of recommendations to boost housing supply and stimulate the wider economy. However, there are fears that the proposals could lead to a reduction in the level of affordable housing offered by developers under section 106 agreements.

'Any strategy to boost the number of new rental homes should not come at the expense of new affordable housing.' Mike Jones, Local Government Association Recommendations from the independent report include encouraging flexibility from councils on planning obligations, injecting government cash to get schemes built more quickly and offering public land for private rented schemes.

The review urges the government not to offer guarantees to developers as these could 'distort the market' and allow the building of projects that would be otherwise unviable separately. Ministers are understood to be considering guaranteeing housing association bonds. The National Housing Federation and Local Government Association both warned that the affordable sector should not lose out. 'Any strategy to boost the number of new rental homes should not come at the expense of new affordable housing,' said Mike Jones, chairman of the LGA's environment and housing board.

'Councils will, in consultation with their residents, always seek to ensure a suitable balance between the need for private rental property and new affordable homes.'

David Orr, chief executive of the NHF, said: 'Housing associations already own and manage thousands of homes for private market rent and want to do more. They have the business expertise and skills at property management to help attract more investment.'

The controversial planning proposals would see long-term rented housing enshrined in section 106 negotiations. The review says that planning tools could be used to ensure that new rented homes would stay in the rental sector for at least 10 years.

The Chartered Institute of Housing supported the review's proposal to release public land to developers that commit to a pre-determined amount of build-to-let homes.

Gavin Smart, director of policy and practice at the CIH, said: 'Boosting investment in all types of housing provision is vital - and CIH maintains that housing has a major role to play in economic growth. New measures to release public land and to assist local authorities and developers in terms of planning are an encouraging step forward.'

The Montague Review recommends…

  • Encouraging local authorities to exercise flexibility in their planning to meet local needs for private rented accommodation
  • Investing government money into schemes as development capital to speed up production
  • Making public land available to developers that commit to building an agreed number of rented homes
 
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RICS INDIA CONFERENCE
Levvel were chosen as International Knowledge Partner by the RICS India. Stuart Woodward, Managing Director of Levvel attended the conference titled 'Practical Solutions for Delivery of Affordable Housing' which took place in New Delhi.

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