People are struggling to afford good homes in in the right location: house prices are too high and the possibility of owning a home seems remote for many people; the private rental market is expensive and insecure; and there are not enough homes for social rent to meet demand. Liberal Democrats are looking to the future and will oversee a substantial building programme to ensure that everybody has a safe and secure home.
We will build at least 100,000 homes for social rent each year and ensure that total housebuilding increases to 300,000 each year. We will help finance the large increase in the building of social homes with investment from our £130 billion capital infrastructure budget.
We will introduce a new Rent to Own model for social housing where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years.
We will: help young people into the rental market by establishing a new Help to Rent scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30; promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes; and improve protections against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing.
We will set clearer standards for homes that are socially rented; require complaints to be dealt with in a timely manner; proactively enforce the regulations that are intended to protect social renters; and fully recognise tenant panels so that renters have a voice in landlord governance.
We will end rough sleeping within five years, by: exempting groups of homeless people, and those at risk of homelessness, from the Shared Accommodation Rate; making providers of asylum support accommodation subject to a statutory duty to refer people leaving asylum support accommodation who are at risk of homelessness to the local housing authority; introducing a ‘somewhere safe to stay’ legal duty to ensure that everyone who is at risk of sleeping rough is provided with emergency accommodation and an assessment of their needs; ensuring sufficient financial resources for local authorities to deliver the Homelessness Reduction Act and provide accommodation for survivors of domestic abuse; legislating for longer-term tenancies and limits on annual rent increases; and scrapping the Vagrancy Act, so that rough sleeping is no longer criminalised.