Skip the first half, jump to the section 'House Hunters'
If I read it correctly, a bunch of council employees have set up a company, got £100m finance, and are buying cheap housing, mostly ex council flats, to house homeless. Then they get the rent, instead of housing benefit going direct to private landlords.
They're also planning to build on some scrap council-owned waste land.
"So thoroughly has the post-Thatcher public sector lost the skills, confidence and financial scope to build, that – when a town hall either adds to or overhauls its housing stock – it usually sells the land to a developer, agrees some easily bent stipulations on social homes and retreats to a blameless distance. Not so Enfield: it is funding the developments itself, holding on to the land, and retaining control of all building. And it’s doing this by, effectively, taking out a socking great mortgage and constructing private homes to rent, which will pay for its new council homes. As with the properties it’s buying, the stock will be owned by the council through a new company – which is not legally obliged to offer the right to buy. [...] This Labour-run council didn’t start off radical. Across the borough are littered other council-house overhauls, led by some big developer with woefully low levels of affordable housing. But circumstances are forcing it to break old habits and try new things."
I'm not clear how this company is not quite part of the council and is not quite private, yet not a housing association. Perhaps one of you can suggest how the ownership works.
Anyway - please pass this on to any officers + politicians who may not have read it....
Thanks Pam for posting this article. Enfield are demonstrating great political will, commitment to municipal ideals and leadership on behalf of their most vulnerable residents. And in buying properties of course they are building up their own asset base which is in the collective interest of the borough and and to the benefit of children and families. It hardly needs saying that housing is one of the major determinants of ill health so giving people decent homes is crucial.
Haringey has been given permission by the government to borrow £500m towards Tottenham's regeneration. I doubt it would be used for anything like this.
The only way that regeneration is ever going to benefit existing Tottenham residents is for some or all of the £500m to be used for building council housing - perhaps through a similar scheme to the Enfield one so that tenants don't have the right to buy. Otherwise we will continue with the idiocy of exporting Tottenham residents to towns across England where they will have no family or support network and importing a whole load of new residents who can't afford to live in Central London. This madness needs to stop somewhere.
I'm sure Haringey doesn't have the skills for building council housing at present, but neither do they have the skills to avoid being ripped off by private sector landlords. I'd rather see the Council develop the skills to build housing to find a long term solution for homelessness, than to be forever more at the mercy of private landlords who can charge pretty much what they like.
"neither do they have the skills to avoid being ripped off bamboozled by private sector landlords developers." They are the ones cleaning up across Haringey - they knock the spivvy BTL landlords with a 'portfolio' of a few houses, into the bottom of the league.
Nice to see a council taking a stand in the current crazy housing crisis. Sad that the Labour leadership is still mired in austerity, but then, in the Blair and Brown years they had the opportunity to invest massively in public housing and chose to hand the money to the banks instead. But Enfield deserve every support for at lease trying to break out of the ring-fencing.
School teachers? That would expose the real reason we have Academies, it's about the land.
Oh I understand that but why was this model not used for schools? You could even get a group of local schools together, form a mutual and hey presto! No more chance of becoming a forced academy. No?
“We’re being hit by a perfect storm: rising house prices, the squeeze in the rental market and the benefit cap,” says Sally McTernan, who runs Enfield’s housing service. (Guardian on line)
Enfield council is trying a radical approach "To reduce its dependence on private rentals, the council has arranged a credit facility of £100m and begun bulk-buying homes. It’s introducing a scheme to license private landlords so controversial that it’s being challenged in court. And for the first time in 30 years it is building council houses. Furthermore, in defiance of Eric Pickles, it is using a loophole that means it won’t give tenants the right to buy."
Paying crazy rents to private landlords, paying for bed and breakfasts and hotels to house the homeless... at last a council with sense. Combining this with landlord registration and an end to 'right to buy' makes sense.
Refusing councils the right to invest money made from sell offs of council houses on further social house building Thatcher said that the market would take care of everything. Yeh right, what a mess, they never listen.
Well done Enfield Council, now for Haringey....?
So the houses have been sold off at a huge discount and then bought back at market value to save money...