Official figures released last week reveal English housing associations secured £0.6 billion in additional yearly rental income by choosing to operate the affordable rent regime over the social rent model. Almost 290,000 English HA tenancies each were £40 per week more than the social rent level to accrue with some £604 million more in rent charged and received.
The data reveals the average social rent level of £92.84 across England and an average affordable (sic) rent level of £132.86 per week
This is enough in revenue subsidy alone to deliver 12,000 new social rent level homes each with £50,000 of revenue subsidy recycled into capital subsidy yet just a third of that number were built at 4,240.
The affordable (sic) rent regime penalises the most vulnerable housing tenant by charging 43% more than in the social rent model and fails to meet its principal political aim of giving housing associations more in subsidy to develop more and much needed genuinely affordable properties.
The affordable (sic) rent regime also has a systemic and perverse financial incentive for social (sic) landlords to evict existing tenants paying just the social rent level of rent so they can be replaced the next week with the 43% higher affordable (sic) rent model and which is quantified at this £604 million per year.
£0.6 billion per year more in rental income is one hell of a financial incentive for English housing associations to evict the SR tenants and replaces with AR tenants and sees these ersatz social landlords live up to their correct name of PRIVATE Registered Providers the name given by the Regulator of Social Housing who calls council landlords as just Registered Providers.
The affordable (sic) rent level is set at 80% of gross market rent and it has always been the case that where Local Housing Allowance (LHA) reflects 79% or less of gross market rent that PRP and RP landlords would receive more in housing benefit than the private landlord can receive in the maximum LHA – and all AR properties can receive 100% of rent paid by housing benefits which includes Universal Credit housing cost element.
What the official facts and irrefutable data reveal is:
- The affordable rent regime is not affordable
- The affordable rent regime is not the same as social rent yet often conflated
- The affordable rent regime is a cash cow for ersatz social landlords
- The affordable rent regime sees social (sic) landlords receive more in housing benefit than the private landlord can receive
- The affordable rent regime does NOT see the extra rent received be recycled into more new social housing properties by ‘social’ landlords.
These are just some of the aspects of the affordable (sic) rent regime but what of its impacts and consequences?
Homelessness is greatly disadvantaged by the AR regime.
The huge official SDR dataset reveals (as it has done for many years) that PRP landlords in Liverpool for example can receive more in housing benefit than PRS landlords there can receive in maximum LHA and Liverpool is one of three Housing First large scale pilot areas which sees the homeless-escape property being the 1 bed social housing property as that is what the much hyped Housing First model is 100% dependent upon.
PRP landlords in Liverpool (which has no RP landlord) can and do choose to allocate their very scarce 1 bed properties to the lowest risk tenants as why would they take the risk of allocating to the highest risk and complex need rough sleeper HF client for £74 per week in average social rent when then can receive between £95 to £106 per week for the lowest risk tenant in affordable rent which the official SDR figures reveal? [The max 1 bed LHA in Liverpool is £90.90 pw]
28% to 43% more in rent for allocating to a much lower risk tenant is what the affordable rent regime manifests and the AR regime and policy is seen to fundamentally work against the Housing First theory and model. It is bad enough that Liverpool has just 16% of its SRS housing stock being the 1 bed when the English average is 25% of all housing stock meaning Liverpool has on average 2 one-bed SRS properties for every 3 in the average English locale 0 again another SDR fact known for decades – without the AR regime fundamentally working against the 1-bed homeless-escape properties needed for the Housing First model or indeed the hostel resettlement model.
Current government housing and homeless policy means the right-hand does not know what the left-hand is doing and is also increasing the practise of No DSS within social housing by allowing the 43% higher AR rent level meaning far more applicants are hit with a housing benefit cut by the overall benefit cap policy so far more benefit-households are refused social housing in the first place.
We still see social housing lobbies, homeless lobbies, the Labour Party and even left-wing homeless and housing activists calling for more affordable housing believing this means social rent when it does not and means 43% higher rents on average. Those same actors still focus on the nasty PRS while ignoring the nasty and ersatz social landlords called Private Registered Providers and whose PR propagandist arms have seemingly higher budgets than its repairs departments to propagate the myth of being social and imbued with charitable social ethos and purpose.
The irrefutable facts of the yearly huge official SDR dataset which is provided by the social rented sector landlords themselves do not support that social purpose or ethos and only support ever greater commercial focus of ersatz landlords hiding behind the label of social and living up to their correct PRIVATE Registered Provider name.
The huge SDR dataset can be sourced here and released 26 October 2021