Generation rent? Now the government wants to help you out

 
Lynsey Barber
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Planning Laws Set To Be Relaxed To Encourage An Increase House Building
Generation rent will be the focus of fresh government plans (Source: Getty)

The government will this week turn its attention to so-called generation rent, with promises of new measures aimed at helping those who are unable, or not yet ready, to jump on the housing ladder through home ownership.

It is pledging to look at new ways of encouraging the building of more affordable rented homes across the country and to encourage landlords to offer longer-term tenancies, among other things.

"We are determined to make housing more affordable and secure for ordinary working families and have a rental market that offers much more choice," said communities secretary Sajid Javid.

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"We understand people are living longer in private rented accommodation which is why we are fixing this broken housing market so all types of home are more affordable."

It signals a change of focus for the government, with Theresa May steering away from efforts by her predecessor David Cameron who wanted to turn generation rent into "generation buy".

Further efforts will go toward the banning of letting fees following on from the Autumn Statement where chancellor Philip Hammond announced plans to scrap letting agent fees.

A white paper is due to be published on Tuesday.

However, Labour dubbed the proposals "disappointing" for falling "far short of what is needed".

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"Government figures show that affordable housebuilding has fallen to the lowest level in 24 years, with the number of homes being built for social rent now at the lowest level since records began," said Labour shadow secretary for housing John Healey.

"Ministers continue to do next to nothing to help people who rent from a private landlord and have consistently blocked Labour's attempts to change the law to control costs and give renters security. Ministers even voted down Labour's efforts to ensure that private rented homes were simply fit for human habitation."

He added: "After seven years of failure on housing, renters deserve better than this."

It's estimated there are more than 5m renters across the country and around a fifth of them are in London.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has promised to ring-fence a third of the 90,000 new homes due to be developed over the next six years as "London Affordable Rents". Another third will be priced at "London Living Rents" while the rest will be shared ownership.

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