A new London Assembly report says housing associations need access to
secure, long-term funding if they’re to help house the 380,000 households on waiting lists across the capital.
The report, published by the Assembly’s Housing and Regeneration Committee, says housing associations face a lack of clarity about funding levels post-2015.
It warns that a new ‘affordable rent’ model allowing associations to charge rents of up to 80 per cent of the market rate could drive up rent arrears, in turn making it more expensive for associations to borrow funds for new homes.
The committee says the capital is danger of seeing a social housing gap caused by associations being unable to deliver new housing at traditional social rent levels and calls for “greater clarity” in how affordable housing will be funded in the long-term.
Assembly Members say the Mayor may need to extend the deadline for delivering 17,000 affordable rent homes beyond the target date of March 2015 deadline following a ‘slow start’ in building affordable housing.
Although recent figures show the number of affordable housing builds is increasing, the committee says the current level of output would need to be sustained until September 2013 for the Mayor’s target to be met.
The report also highlights concerns about the transparency of some housing associations, including the levels of tenant representation and public access to meetings, and calls on the Mayor to support tenants in holding landlords to account.
Committee chair Len Duvall AM said: “Across the board Londoners are struggling with spiralling rents and house prices that seem to be increasingly out of reach for even better-off Londoners. Housing associations have got to be part of the answer, but over the last 15 years the number of families on housing waiting lists has almost doubled to 380,000.
“London’s housing associations have a proud history of providing good quality homes for people on low incomes and those who need specialist accommodation, but without a secure long-term source of funding, it is hard to see how they will be able to meet the ever-increasing demand.”