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“England has a dearth of housing”

  • by JW

“Homes in England are less affordable and in worse condition than those in most other developed nations.” [Home Builders Federation]

There are only 15 places available to rent in Sidmouth – none of which could be regarded as ‘affordable’.


It’s not easy finding somewhere to rent in Devon, typically because it’s often about holiday lets vs rural communities – and in Sidmouth that means the competition between housing to rent and AirBnB. It’s particularly difficult for those working in the local hospitality and care industries, as key workers are unable to find rental homes in Devon.

The ‘community union’ Acorn, which campaigns for the rights of renters has just produced a “renters’ manifesto”:

ACORN – along with other organisations such as Generation Rent, New Economics Foundation, London Renters Union, Greater Manchester Tenants Union – have come together to produce the Renters Manifesto – a call to all political parties to commit to the bold changes needed to fix the housing crisis. The Renters Manifesto sets out the steps needed to ensure that everybody has a secureaffordable and decent home. It covers five key themes: Security, Standards, Fairness, Affordability, and Housing for People, Not Profit.

In it, we call on politicians to commit to ensuring that public funding for housing is directed solely towards an ambitious council housing building program that delivers 3.1 million homes over 20 years. The manifesto proposes major improvements to private renting including rent controls, an end to no-fault evictions, open-ended tenancies, tougher action on landlords who leave homes with unsafe disrepair, tenancy reforms and bringing privately owned homes into public ownership, among other measures. You can read the full Renters Manifesto here.

With a dedicated website providing more on the National Renters Manifesto

The Landlord Today website is not impressed, seeing it as a demand to nationalise private rental homes. Nevertheless, in the meantime the government is proposing very similar regulation (minus the ‘nationalisation’) – and yet it might well not happen as Tory splits over Michael Gove’s Bill on renters’ rights spark fears it could be ‘dropped like net zero’, as reported by the i-news:

A rift has opened up within the Conservative Party about who is responsible for the much-heralded Renters Reform Bill being delayed, amid concerns it could be “dropped like net zero“. While Housing Secretary Michael Gove is said to be “hell-bent” on passing the Bill, Westminster insiders say it is being blocked by Tory landlord MPs and special advisers in Downing Street who are sympathetic to them. In 2019, the Conservatives made a manifesto commitment to end “no-fault” Section 21 evictions, which allow a landlord to evict renters at short notice without having to give a reason. They are a leading cause of homelessness.

The dire situation in the rental market is not helped by the wider, general difficulty of finding somewhere to live, with the Home Builders Federation having just published a report which shows the true scale of how UK housing is falling behind international counterparts:

Scarcity of available properties and barriers to building is driving UK housing further into crisis, new analysis from the Home Builders Federation shows

  • Existing English homes are in the worst condition of all European countries, with 15% failing required quality standards – significantly worse than poorer Eastern European nations
  • Skyrocketing housing costs mean 11.3 million people in England spend more than 40% on their household income on their home – more than any other country in Europe
  • England has a dearth of housing, with the lowest rates of available properties compared to its population of all OECD members

Homes in England are less affordable and in worse condition than those in most other developed nations, a new report today shows.

Analysis from the Home Builders Federation – the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales – reveals for the first time the full extent of the difficulties facing people in Britain trying to find somewhere to live that is decent and affordable.

Today’s Guardian covers the story, focussing on how a quarter of UK private renters are spending over 40% of their income on housing amid a warning that people are ‘trapped in poverty’; and Sky News today points to the fact that English homes are more expensive and in worse condition than most developed nations.

Meanwhile, also today, there are only 15 places available to rent in Sidmouth – none of which could be regarded as ‘affordable’.