Councillors have voted to consult on sweeping changes to the council’s approach to housing, to improve tenants’ security and the quality and affordability of homes.

The proposals, which will now go out to consultation with the public, include:

  • Moving council tenants away from fixed-term ‘flexible’ tenancies to secure, lifetime ones.
  • Giving prospective tenants two offers when applying for council housing, rather than the current one.
  • Giving priority to be rehoused to people who have held their tenancy for more than five years and who are living in temporary, non-secure accommodation on regeneration estates. They will be offered a secure council tenancy in the new development if there are homes available, or otherwise be rehoused elsewhere in the borough.

Alongside this, the council is also investing £2.2million per annum for the next 10 years to address damp and mould issues across the council’s housing stock. The council’s arms length management organisation, Barnet Homes, has already surveyed more than 80% of homes, so that any damp or mould can either be treated immediately or prioritised on the basis of its severity.

A new Housing Strategy and Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy will also include proposed priorities on:

  • Increasing the supply of affordable housing for rent and home ownership with the aim of delivering 1,000 new council homes at 50% of market rental rates.
  • Improving the council’s housing stock so it reaches our Net Zero and sustainability targets in relation to new developments and existing homes. Our ambition is to be a Net Zero council by 2030 and borough by 2042.
  • Improving the quality of private-sector rental properties and promoting private tenants’ rights.
  • Preventing homelessness and providing support for those who are or have been homeless.

Housing and Growth Committee Chair, Cllr Ross Houston, said:

“We’re determined to do everything in our power to help deliver secure, safe, and affordable homes in Barnet.

“We have already begun building towards our target of 1,000 new homes for social or London Affordable Rent and these proposals will allow us to do even more for council tenants and other residents in Barnet.

“We have also underlined our commitment to caring for people, our places, and the planet by setting out our commitments to raising quality and standards in the private rented sector, to ensuring healthy homes and tackling damp and mould, and to using our voice to advocate for residents on housing-related issues.

“We will be consulting on the four new proposed housing-related strategies and policies, and I encourage all residents to get involved in building the future of the borough.”

 

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