Borough policy approaches to build to rent

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Issues and Options report, draft Local Plan (2015) refers to and supports the London Housing Strategy target that 12 per cent of new homes should be institutionally owned rental property (refer to Policy P1 of the Housing Strategy). It is noted that purpose-built accommodation can provide a better alternative to buy-to-let accommodation.

The Core Strategy notes (paragraph 9.6.9) that ‘An increased supply of decent housing in the private rented sector is of value to households wanting to living in Barnet but not able to access owner occupation’. Policy CS4 therefore supports a mix of housing products to provide housing choice to enable residents ‘to progress on a housing journey that can meet the aspirations of home ownership.

The Core Strategy refers to current issues of poor quality private rented accommodation

Brent’s Wembley Area Action Plan (2015) notes (paragraph 7.29) that ‘Wembley is a town centre location that represents an opportunity to deliver a new type of private rented accommodation.

The council is keen to see private rented accommodation delivered at a scale that can support more professional and less fragmented management as well as greater stability and longer rental periods’. Policy WEM 22 (Private Rented Sector) encourages: ‘Purpose-built private rented sector accommodation where dwellings are of demonstrably good design and there are suitable long term financial management and nominations arrangements.

Where such accommodation can be delivered the council will be flexible on housing unit size mix and the proportion of affordable housing, if that accommodation,or a reasonable proportion thereof, can be made available at or below local housing allowance levels.’

Brent’s Harlesden Neighbourhood Plan (consultation draft, March 2017) also sets out ‘explicit support for both the private rented sector and for shared ownership as solutions for those people wishing to live locally but who cannot afford market housing or Starter Homes’.

Local Plan policy H6 sets out that the council will ‘support the development of private rented homes where this will assist in the creation of mixed, inclusive and sustainable communities’.

The Local Plan Issues and Options (2016, paragraph 7.11) refers to institutional investment in private rented housing as a new form of tenure that has emerged in response to London’s housing shortage. Question 7.10 specifically asks about whether City of London should encourage new forms of rental accommodation

The Local Plan partial review enables a degree of flexibility with regards to affordable housing provision for private rented schemes provided that such schemes are subject to a rental covenant of at least seven years.

The Southall Area Opportunity Area Planning Framework encourages large scale build to rent schemes where they provide good quality professionally managed homes.

The Spray Street Supplementary Planning Document (2015, section 3.3) notes that ‘In addition to standard residential development there may be scope to diversify the offer through Private Rental Sector schemes and student accommodation – both of which are considered to be growth sectors with keen developer interest’.

Hackney’s Development Management Local Plan (2015, paragraph 5.3.15) notes:

‘The Council recognises the increasing importance of the private rented sector in meeting housing needs in the Borough, and supports the provision of ‘build-to-rent private rented homes’, where these are well-designed, where evidence is provided that high standards of management will be put in place, and where the benefits of such housing are balanced against the level of affordable housing provision. The Council will work with the GLA and other delivery partners to seek to increase and improve the private rented sector in line with the London Plan and the Mayors Housing SPG.’

This supports policies on housing supply, including DM19 – General approach to new housing development.

The Submission Local Plan (2017, section 6) sets out a range of considerations about build to rent. In summary:

  • build to rent has the potential to boost the supply of private rented accommodation and may offer a greater range and choice to private renters;
  • the financial model of build to rent is different to traditional private market housing, but ‘a range of tenures will be expected to provide accessible housing for all, subject to viability.’
  • long-term covenants will be required to ensure developments remain as rental for at least 15 years;
  • affordable housing should be maintained in perpetuity;
  • schemes will be expected to have a suitable long term experienced management team; and
  • higher turnover is anticipated in build to rent schemes, which may impact on sense of community in the area, high-street parking issues and impacts; evidence of mitigating or managing these issues may be required by the council.

This supports policy H01 – Housing Supply, which states that the Council will work to improve the quality of private rented housing.

The Tottenham Area Action Plan (pre-submission version, 2016) supports private rented housing as part of a broad housing mix to be delivered through comprehensive estate renewal of Northumberland Park and Love Lane.

The Wood Green Area Action Plan (Preferred Option, 2017, paragraph 7.29) sets out that private rented developments are considered to have a role to play in meeting housing need in the borough.

The borough’s Development Management DPD (pre-submission version, 2016, paragraph 3.9) notes the increasing importance of the private rented sector in providing housing choice in London and to support housing delivery rates. The council will apply a rental covenant of an ‘appropriate length’ and is keen to ensure that purpose built rental accommodation is of a high standard. This text supports policy DM11 Housing Mix.

The Local Plan Partial Review (submission version, 2017) acknowledges the significant role of the private rented sector in the housing market and refers specifically to build to rent. Paragraphs 35.3.69-35.3.71 refer to the benefits of build to rent and the distinct economics of the tenure; the Mayor’s draft SPG is referred to. Policy CH4 supports build to rent, particularly where an element of intermediate rent is included.

Lambeth’s Local Plan (2015, paragraph 2.58) states that the council supports the private rented sector and notes that ‘The Council, through the Housing Strategy, supports growth in the private rented sector and the provision of well-managed and good quality private rented homes.’

The New Southwark Plan (preferred option 2017) contains a policy on private rented homes. Policy DM4 supports self-contained private-rented homes subject to a range of criteria, including a 100 home threshold, a 30 year rental covenant and a requirement to provide affordable homes in perpetuity.

The Local Plan, Core Strategy (2016, paragraph 4.183) notes:

‘The private rented sector is playing an increasingly important role in meeting housing, need in the borough and has further potential to meet the needs of low to middle income households. There is considerable demand for private rented housing which means that the sector is overheating. Increasing the provision of private rented housing could have the potential of reducing private sector rents and the demand for affordable housing if delivered in sufficient quantum, particularly in the form of structured schemes including tenancy arrangements.’

Paragraph 4.194 goes on to state that:

‘The SHMA 2012 identifies the need to promote more structured development of this sector, including: to seek to secure access for Wandsworth residents and those working in the borough, both to better meet local housing needs and to relieve pressure on the existing private rent sector; to establish tenancy terms that are more attractive and provide greater stability and permanency for intending occupiers (e.g. tenancy terms than run for longer than six months); and to support low cost market renting arrangements that are intended to meet the demands of working households and family households.’

This text supports Policy IS 5 (housing mix); part (g) notes that:

‘The Council supports the development of private rented sector housing and schemes offering a mixture of private and intermediate rented housing aimed at working households.

Where developers are willing to enter into legal agreements securing such housing for local needs or lower to middle income households with security of tenure, any impacts on the market value of such developments will be taken into account in viability assessments.’