England & Wales

Tory housing policy – update

The Conservative Party has published the new housing policy paper “Empty Homes: Tackling Britain’s Social Housing Crisis”. 

It’s key points:

Social housing waiting lists now 1.8 million and set to increase as the recession hits.  Meanwhile, 1 million properties are empty.  The proposal is a temporary suspension of the rules that make it difficult for the ‘affordable housing sector’ to bring empty properties into use.   The measures are: 

  • “encourage housing association to pursue a variety of models for bringing empty property back into use”.  
  • partial suspension of Design and Quality Standard requirements for existing empty homes
  • removal of the requirement for the empty property stock to comply with Sustainability Codes
  • allowing short terms tenancy aggreements of 3 to 5 years

The point is well made: empty homes should be brought back into use.  I’m surprised the policy paper doesnt envisage a stronger role for local authorities in doing this.  Some already are.