Second Homes V's Affordable Rental Housing
So I’m back on my housing hobby horse again as I’ve come across some rather startling statistics from 2018 which show there are 310,500 homeless households, that’s households not people, if we average three people per household that’s 931,500 people, including children, and these are not rough sleepers, these are often people trying to hold down jobs and raise families whilst living in one room in a hostel or in sub standard rented accommodation, by landlords out to make money over their duty to provide habitable accommodation.
Other statistics from 2018 show that there are 5.2 million second homes in the UK, that’s 1 in 10 of the population owning a second house, which they in many cases will be given a 50% council tax discount and which they are most likely renting out, making a profit, maybe local councils need to rethink this, if they can afford a second home why give them a discount on council tax?
Government figures from 2017 also suggest that 24000 -340000new houses are needed each year, well I’m not good at maths but I’m pretty sure like me you can see the disparity in all these figures.
So yes, looking at the homeless household figures I don’t dispute the need for approx. 350,000 new houses now, but each year? and most importantly these new houses need to be in the affordable rental market, not the high spec 4 bedroom houses with £500,000 price tag market, if people can’t afford exorbitant rents how are they going to get a mortgage let alone pay it each month? and many of those 5.2 million holiday homes, are probably in the areas where they are most needed, tied cottages for farm workers now living under canvas in woods, quaint seaside or country cottages in tourist destinations which seasonal lifeguards, surf school, bar and café staff can’t afford.
Local people forced to move away from their home towns and villages, like that cheery, polite young person who served you your overpriced cream tea, in that quaint themed café this afternoon, who can’t afford to rent and faces moving away from friends and family for an uncertain future.
Assuming that many of these 5.2 million properties are empty for much of the year and 310,500 households are without a permanent roof over their heads and the stability that this gives people in terms of mental and physical health, this is terrible waste of resources. If 310,500 were made available at affordable rents, that would still leave approx. 4.9 million holiday properties for the tourist sector, still bringing in revenue to those towns and villages. This would mean we wouldn’t have to keep covering land, often farmland, the very typical countryside we are visiting to get away from the ever-insidious creep of bricks and mortar, block paving and tarmac in our own backyard.