Above Nick Murphy: Chief Executive of Nottingham City Homes Inside Housing recently featured in Inside Housing NCH recently set up a registered subsidiary to build private rented sector homes.
What’s wrong with owning a home? What’s wrong with owning a second home? What’s wrong with owning a small portfolio? What’s wrong with a medium size portfolio? What’s wrong with purpose built social housing for private rent?
Good landlords have taken the initiative and done what they’ve felt is the right thing for them, their children and for people who can’t afford to buy. Fizzy Living –(their strapline: ‘Reinventing Renting’).
Fizzy are the private rented sector subsidiary of 15,000-home social landlord Thames Valley – built Fizzy City. Made up of 63 one, two and three bed flats for private rent, the development is aimed at professional 25 to 35 year old ‘rentysomethings’.
But although King Lear thought nothing would come of nothing….in fact, much good has come of small landlords, good landlords who have been lucky enough to help themselves to a pension by buying and letting over the last thirty years.
It’s when you get to the way larger capital connects with our local communities, there’s a conflict of interest: a battle to the death. In Nottingham you can see how the pressure from venture capital onto the very brilliant idea of student pod accommodation has gone too far, skewing demographics.
Big financial interests, algorhythms think sociopathically about ‘cradle to cradle’ systems to protect and improve investments and returns. In a very real way it’s like a mad hatter’s tea party, the foot goes onto the accelerator and everyone jumps, moving one place on….
Algorhythms don’t care about the impact of institutionalisation of all aspects of care on the quality and ability of people to receive good nursery and after school care, good education, good health care, good training, decent work and homes throughout their lives.
In Nottingham no-one who works in any organisation linked to these processes can or dares to say, well actually, look at the number of properties set up to be let to students, old, new on the outskirts and in the city to students.
Students are encouraged by thousands of images of interiors to let without any connection to the actual numbers of student properties to let on the streets of Nottingham.
There’s a disconnect between an ideal interior world projected:
Above Over 4,000 Nottingham council homes have been fitted with solar panels. Image: Nottingham City Council. and a google snapshot of luxurious interiors that students can expect……
and the aspirations of ordinary people in neighbourhoods in Nottingham.
Below you can see that the city council has applied a prohibition on the use of letting boards in specific parts of the city:
And critically, noone really feeds back from the students about the pressure on them to adopt this cradle to cradle accommodation, planned by template, managed by algorithms.
The great plan for student development and accommodation in Nottingham doesn’t meaningfully connect with either the existing accommodation here nor the aspirations of people here…so the students leave pod accommodation after the first year because they want to experience a normal life, with ordinary people from every age and stage of life while all the systems in education and housing and work are preventing them from feeling that.
I think this disjunction, this structured disconnection, creates stress.
Landlords who have traditionally rented to students in the older properties around Nottingham feel the insecurity and uncertainty of this market and need guidance to develop their property for mixed use and tenancy, surely?
What’s really bad though is that there’s a real housing need in Nottingham that isn’t being met.
Below is a statement of a strategy from Nottingham City Council:
Everyone is potentially at risk from the effects of poor housing conditions.
However, children, older people and those with chronic health problems are especially susceptible.
There is clear evidence to link poor health with poor housing; for example the link between poorly heated accommodation and high blood pressure or circulatory problems in elderly occupiers; and a raised level of asthma and other respiratory conditions in children living in damp housing with high levels of mould growth.
A major current priority for Nottingham City is to withstand the effects of the downturn and to channel efforts into activity that creates employment and leads to economic growth.
For housing partners this means making the best possible use of the opportunities for delivering new housing, improving existing housing, supporting those people left most vulnerable by the downturn and ensuring that services are delivered in an efficient and effective manner, leading to the improvement of neighbourhoods.
Given the cross cutting nature of housing there are links between this chapter and several others covered elsewhere in the JNSA:
Homelessness, domestic violence, asylum seekers and refugees, adults with physical and learning disabilities, mental health, students and falls.
Also there is a link to Nottingham City Council’s Vulnerable Adults Plan 2011 – 2014 relating to Supported Housing Services.
Issues and gaps
The three year plan of the Nottingham Housing Strategic Partnership 2013-2015 has the following aims:
For employers to retain residents
- Housing development will aid economic growth
- Housing development will help achieve regeneration objectivesImproving Housing standards is important:-
- to make best possible use of existing housing stock – it is more cost effective and sustainable than building new homes.
- Reduce the fuel bills of citizens on lower incomes and to cut carbon emissions:
- retrofitting energy efficiency measures to existing homes are the most significant way of doing both.
- The existing stock across all tenures needs to be kept in a good state of repair in order to prevent it becoming a larger, longer- term problem, to which the only solution is major regeneration.
- Private rented sector is growing in importance in the housing market; with this comes a need to raise standards in the sector to meet tenant expectations.
- Private rented home sector will expand as a source of accommodation through which homelessness duties will be fulfilled; this and its role as a quality. housing solution.
- A need to work with the sector to improve standards.
- The poorest housing conditions are experienced by the most vulnerable people in the city: by tackling poor housing a major contribution to other aspects of citizen wellbeing is made.
- Improving housing improves health, reducing a call on health resources.
- Empty homes are a wasted resource and a significant nuisance to people living close by them
- Specialist Housing Needs and Support is important because:-
- Nottingham is a City with high levels of deprivation.
- Local demographics are changing with the population ageing
- numbers of people who have disabilities in unsuitable accommodation increase.
- Local Authority Formula Grant to support people with disabilities reducing so a reduction in the supported accommodation provision in the City
- loss of a number of services which support vulnerable people to live independently.
- The Welfare Reform Act and Localism Act impact on vulnerable people disproportionately.
- The effects of the recession also impact disproportionately on the vulnerableand the homeless and push more people towards reliance on local services
to offer them advice, assistance and support in meeting their housing needs.
- The Health and Social Care Act 2012 confers new responsibilities on local authorities to improve the health of their citizens.
- Monitoring of the percentage of adults with mental health problems and learning disability in settled accommodation and the number of households who become homeless.
The increase in the aging population present the following housing issues:-
Recommendations for consideration by commissioners
Further develop and integrate into other services, preventative housing services that have an impact on residents’ health and prevent hospital admissions. These
Services may include:
- Home Improvement Agency,
- Handyperson Service,
- Healthy Housing Referral Project
- Adaptations Agency
- Home Safety ServiceStrategic Approach
The three year plan of the Nottingham Housing Strategic Partnership 2013-2015
Supply of new homes
- More affordable homes.
- A new extra care scheme.
- Build bungalows
- Build other housing for older people.
- Increase private sector building presence in the city
- Enable the development of more purpose built student housing
- Enable the development of build to rent bespoke private rented housing as an alternative to home ownership.
- Raise standards in the private rented sector. Deliver the Nottingham Standard and bring more properties into accreditation.Additional licensing of House in Multiple Occupation.
Assist vulnerable homeowners to improve their homes. To complete and
evaluate the equity loans pilot and explore new funding mechanisms to ensure the continued availability of loans to enable homeowners to carry out repairs to their property and raise standards
Tackle fuel poverty. Maximise the opportunities of the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation between 2013 and 2018. New areas under Green Deal of hard to treat cavity wall insulation, solid wall insulation and works to private landlords’ homes are of particular interest.
Bring long term empty homes back into use. Source funding to bring empty residential properties back into use or convert empty commercial properties for residential use
Addressing specialist housing and support
Improving standards within existing homes
Within social housing. To complete the decent homes programme by 2015 and maintain decency in all social housing
- Five year homelessness prevention strategy for 2013 – 2018 homelessness strategy for 2013 – 2018.
- Further develop homeless prevention and early intervention initiatives.
- Provision of a range of suitable, flexible and quality specialist and supported accommodation for vulnerable people
- Provide appropriate accommodation which meets the needs and aspirations of older people.
- Build or convert more retirement accommodation built to lifetime homes standards. Encourage house builders to provide bungalows and other housing places such as extra care units for sale or rent for elderly and disabled people in every community.
- Solutions to issues in multi-landlord areas though local area collaboration.
- Effectiveness through shared delivery of services, neighbourhood resilience and prosperity through non-traditional landlord activities