Landmark housing report seeks to ‘rebalance’ the housing system

The Affordable Housing Commission has released its final report calling for significant changes to England’s housing system. Comprised of 15 housing experts, the Commission has made a wide range of recommendations with one overarching belief – that the housing system has become unbalanced and action needs to be taken to make it fit for the future. The report notes that the system has become skewed over recent years, with dwindling social housing stock, an inflated private rented sector and home-ownership becoming too expensive for many people. The package of changes proposed has a targeted endpoint too, with unaffordable housing being eradicated by 2045.

Chaired by Lord Best, a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords, the Commission was funded by the Nationwide Foundation and started work in 2018. The final report considers the whole of the housing system, across a range of tenures and delivery models and has led to a range of recommendations for wholesale reform.

The recommendations of the report include:

  • Calling for a large increase in building of social rented housing
  • Reforming the Right to Buy, so that councils can determine discount levels locally and keep money from sales to build new affordable housing
  • Limiting rent increases, so that tenants aren’t met with exorbitant cost increases at the end of every contract term.
  • Pushing to improve the quality of new housing, including more control for local councils and more money for social housing providers to improve homes
  • Recognising that older people have varying needs that are currently not being met by our housing system, and that they should be supported to adapt their homes or move into specialised retirement properties.

Funding for this report was granted under the Nationwide Foundation’s Nurturing Ideas to change the Housing System programme. The programme backs promising housing ideas, allowing them to be tested, and then help them move through into action. Following the publication of this report, work is underway to consider how the work of the Affordable Housing Commission might continue and how its recommendations can be embedded in public policy.

Read the full report here.