Housing: affordable homes and home standards - March 2022

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for contacting me about improving the condition of rented homes and about affordable homes.

Everyone deserves a warm, safe, high-quality home to call their own. I share the determination of my ministerial colleagues to improve housing quality across the private and social rented sectors and strengthen the voices of residents up and down the country.

As you will know, the Government has laid out its plans to spread opportunity and prosperity to every region of the UK in the Levelling Up White Paper. Building homes and transforming the quality of our housing to ensure it is fit for the 21st century are important parts of this. I understand that the levelling up agenda will be underpinned by a Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which will require the Government to provide annual updates on its progress against goals set out in the White Paper.

Ministers are also committed to delivering a better deal for renters and will soon lay out a White Paper detailing a package of reforms to do just that. This will include consulting on the introduction of a legally binding Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector for the first time. Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions will be abolished and the merits of a national landlord register will also be explored. Colleagues have assured me that legislation will follow.

I am glad that the Government is taking steps to deliver on its commitments made to social housing tenants following the Grenfell tragedy in 2017. Building on the policies outlined in the Charter for Social Housing Residents, a Social Housing Regulation Bill will raise the standard for social housing to meet the needs and aspiration of residents around the country. Taking on board comments made by the Secretary of State, I understand that legislation is due to be published later this year.

In terms of the supply of affordable homes, I absolutely agree that we need to increase the availability of affordable homes across the country, and it is encouraging that over 574,100 affordable homes have been delivered in the past decade. Affordable housing helps people fulfil the dream of homeownership, reduces high rents in the private rented sector and helps to prevent homelessness. More remains to be done, which is why I am glad that the 2021 Spending Review confirmed a nearly £24 billion multi-year settlement for housing. This includes £300 million in locally-led grant funding that will be distributed to Mayoral Combined Authorities and local authorities to unlock smaller brownfield sites for housing and improve communities in line with their priorities, and £1.5 billion to regenerate underused land and deliver transport links and community facilities, unlocking 160,000 homes in total. 

I welcome measures to help first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder. These include a mortgage guarantee scheme which offers mortgages for those with a five per cent deposit for properties up to £600,000 in value.  In addition, there are a range of shared ownership opportunities, which are part-buy, part-rent options and the First Homes scheme - First Homes Scheme: September 2021 | Richard Fuller

The £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme (2021-26) will leverage up to £38 billion of private finance and provide up to 180,000 new homes across the country, should economic conditions allow. I am encouraged that this forms part of over £12 billion overall investment in affordable housing, which I am told is the largest cash investment in affordable housing in a decade. Progress has already been made to deliver this programme, with £8.6 billion of funding allocated to councils, housing associations and private providers. This will deliver around 57,000 homes for affordable homeownership, 29,600 for social rent and 6,250 affordable rural homes.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.


Richard Fuller