We have two roles in providing new affordable homes in the Borough. We can provide them through housing tenancy services and we work with others to enable development of new and existing affordable housing. We have a target to provide 100 new affordable homes per year. We influence provision of new affordable homes by:
Affordable homes are available to eligible households who would otherwise be unable to meet their housing needs on the open market. There are a number of properties in the Borough, including homes to rent from registered providers and us and homes that can be bought through Help to Buy, the Government's affordable home ownership brand.
Social rented housing is owned and managed by registered providers (formerly known as registered social landlords) and us. The Government has introduced an affordable rent tenure which sets rent at up to 80% of the gross market rent and on a more flexible tenancy than social rent. Both social and affordable rental homes will be allocated in the same way. Normally, only people on the Borough's housing waiting list and registered provider registers are eligible for properties advertised on our LetSelect scheme.
Help to Buy is the Government's name for affordable home ownership. It helps priority groups and other first time buyers get onto the property ladder.
There are number of Help to Buy schemes in the Borough:
Shared ownership - This is a part buy, part rent scheme where you buy an initial share and pay a reduced rent on the remaining percentage. You can buy more shares until you own the home outright or stay as long as you wish as a shared owner. From time to time, existing shared ownership properties become available for resale on the same basis as new build shared ownership properties. Help to Buy South will provide details of shared ownership properties available and assess eligibility and affordability criteria.
Equity loan schemes - This is where a buyer holds the full title of the property but gets help through the equity loan which is secured as a second charge on the property.
Help to Buy Direct - Eligible applicants will be offered an equity loan of up to a maximum of 30% of the purchase price based on the full market valuation of the property. Applicants must fund at least 70% of the purchase price through a conventional mortgage from a qualified lending organisation, savings and any deposit where needed. The equity loan is provided as a second charge. You can see more at Help to Buy South .
Some new homes may be available for applicants to rent initially with a view to buying a share within a certain time. For more information, contact Help to Buy South .
There are several terms for providers of affordable housing - housing association, registered social landlord and registered providers. Housing associations are independent not-for-profit bodies that provide low-cost housing for people in need. Any trading surplus is used to maintain existing homes and to help finance new ones. The term is often used as a shorthand term for registered social landlords (RSLs), although not all housing associations are RSLs. Since 2010 the Tenant Services Authority regulates providers of affordable and social housing and they have become known as registered providers irrespective of the private, public, for profit or not for profit status
The Homes and Communities Agency is the body responsible for delivering nearly all affordable homes in England. It provides funding for affordable homes and brings land back into productive use. Its role is to help people live in high quality sustainable places. We nominate households into affordable housing through the housing waiting list. The housing association then becomes the landlord of the new tenants. In the event of any issues the first step is to contact the association directly and try to resolve the problem through its formal complaints procedure. Should you still be dissatisfied, you may take your complaint to the independent Housing Ombudsman . If your complaint is against services provided by the Council, this will be managed through our complaints procedure. Should you remain dissatisfied you may refer your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman .
New affordable housing is being developed in the Borough. We work with our housing associations partners to seek affordable housing development opportunities. Our target is to provide 100 new affordable homes per year both directly and working with housing associations. We work with preferred housing associations to develop affordable housing. They are VIVID - Tel: 0800 652 0898, Radian - Tel: 0300 123 1567. We work with private developers to deliver affordable housing secured through planning policy. Other housing associations have stock within the Borough or are developing new affordable homes. Those with over 25 homes to which we have nomination rights are:
We have produced an affordable housing strategy (147 KB). It describes our policies for delivering affordable housing through the planning system and other ways; our partnership arrangements with housing associations; how we will deliver good quality affordable homes and how we will attract sufficient funding to succeed. In light of the rising level of local housing need, we have adopted a target of delivering 100 affordable homes per annum as a priority corporate objective and will aim to meet this target through appropriate policies. You should read the strategy in conjunction with:
These documents set out modifications to the strategy from external influences, such as Government policy and housing need. We are developing a new affordable housing strategy to take account of planning policies we adopted in August 2011.