Fully Flexible Tenure research

Fully Flexible Tenure research

Recent debate about the role of social housing has pointed to negative outcomes associated with social renting, which is said to inhibit aspiration. In addition, concern has been expressed that sub-market rents for social housing may continue to be enjoyed by people with above average incomes. Meanwhile, at a time of acute housing need, social housing providers’ assets are locked into rented properties and are unavailable for investment in new homes..

In April 2012, three housing associations working in the South East: Moat, Radian and Sovereign, jointly commissioned Altair Consultancy and Advisory Service (Altair) to investigate a potential solution, with Devonshires providing legal support. Fully flexible tenure is about an occupier being able to move between ALL tenure types (social, intermediate and market rent, shared ownership and full ownership) over a period of time as the occupier’s circumstances dictate without having to move home. With fully flexible tenure, a householder could fully rent or fully own, or be in an intermediate stage in varying proportions.

The brief was to consider how property, funding and tenure could be untangled to provide an appropriate fit between people’s circumstances and housing costs in a way that responded to their aspirations.

The project explored the risks, opportunities and constraints associated with genuinely flexible tenure, enabling tenants to move towards home ownership, or away from it, depending on their circumstances. Some central principles shaped the approach:

  • Social housing should provide a springboard of opportunity
  • It should reinforce the idea that effort will be rewarded, not punished
  • The ‘deal’ available to new tenants should be as fair as possible, and should not depend on luck
  • Subsidy, in the form of sub-market costs, should be directed to those most in need
  • Social housing initiatives should support community sustainability, and keep positive role models in communities.

For further information please contact Clare Powell, Clare.Powell@Sovereign.org.uk or Judy Wayne, Altair Director, on 029 2037 7268, 07880 606067 or judy.wayne@altairltd.co.uk.