We have today launched TAROE Trust’s “Manifesto for Change”. This sets out our key priorities for change in the regulated housing sector.
The headline points that we are calling for to bring about greater fairness for tenants living in the regulated housing sector are summarised below:
1. Re-introduce capital subsidies for new housing developments that include properties to be rented at truly affordable rent levels.
2. Stop the use of rents as a source of revenue-based funding / subsidy for new housing development, introduce new models of truly affordable housing, and adopt a new basis for setting rents based on local levels of affordability (e.g. “Living Rents”).
3. Re-introduce long term security of tenure for tenants living in the sector.
4. End the use of the term “social housing” and “social housing tenant” which stigmatises tenants living within the regulated housing sector, and promote the positive benefits of the sector.
5. Establish a group that is formally recognised and funded by Government that will give tenants an equal voice in national and regional housing policy development.
6. Adoption of a single form of tenancy agreement to be used across all rented housing, which provides consumer protection for tenants, including obligations to promote effective tenant empowerment and engagement.
7. Adoption of much stronger regulation, that is prescriptive about minimum acceptable standards, which are rigorously enforced by the Regulator.
8. Adoption of a series of measures that will result in more effective tenant engagement and empowerment as a “right” based on prescriptive standards that are rigorously and proactively regulated.
9. A review of the remit and scope of the work of the Housing Ombudsman versus the Regulator to ensure there is no overlap. We also want to see both bodies given a wider scope in their ability to consider complaints, and also take action in response to ensure wider service improvements are implemented.
10. The Government to take a more interventionist approach to managing the housing markets to increase new housing supply.
11. The adoption of international accounting fiscal measures based on ‘Government debt’ which would promote increased council housing investment and development, whilst also providing wider economic stimulus.
12. A thorough review of the Right to Buy policy to remove the aspects which lead to unfair outcomes, particularly the discount levels, and open up its availability to tenants within the regulated sector on a more fair and equal basis.
13. End the penalisation of the poor and shift to a system which recognises the payments of benefits as part of a progressive national system of “social security”.
14. Adequate funding for supported and specialist housing, as well as long-term certainty to enable councils and housing associations to commit to new supported housing developments to meet demand.
15. The Government to urgently review whether there are continued risks posed to tenants from external wall cladding fitted to high rise buildings, and for instructions to be issued to remove such materials where these do represent a risk to the safety of tenants.
16. Any ambiguity for the allowance of combustible materials in the cladding (or similar) of buildings to be outlawed as the only means of restoring public confidence, and for a timed plan to be implemented for the removal / replacement of combustible materials from existing high-rise buildings.
17. The establishment of clear and prescriptive minimum standards in building regulations that place tenant safety as a paramount consideration.
18. A prescriptive approach to regulation for tenant health and safety matters that requires routine and regular publication of health and safety assessments on building (e.g. fire risk assessments) to promote greater levels of transparency and accountability, and re-build tenant confidence.
19. The re-introduction of stronger environmental build standards, both as a way of reducing fuel poverty for tenants, and as a longer-term contribution to the planet.
20. The reintroduction of high quality space standards for all new housing developments.
21. The abolition of squatting as a criminal offence, which is costly, removes access to justice and criminalises the homeless.
You can download our full document here: