Giving first refusal over homes built for private rent
Steps are being taken to give local people first refusal over homes built for private rent as part of an ongoing drive to create more housing opportunities in the borough.
Wandsworth has a successful record in helping its residents get on the housing ladder, and now the borough wants to make sure there is the same level of support on offer to those who choose to rent.
The borough is home to one of the highest proportions of young, upwardly mobile singles and couples in England and Wales, according to the latest Census information, and it is this group that the councils says needs more support.
Council leader Cllr Ravi Govindia said: "For many people in this bracket, home ownership is either not an option or the right choice.
"Many want extra stability from the private rented sector and that is what we are trying to help them with. That way they can have every confidence about putting down roots in the borough regardless of whether they want to one day own a property here."
The council is aiming to help fuel the development of housing designed and built for private rent, arrange with developers to offer these newly-built homes to local residents and help people secure tenancies that provide a greater degree of stability and security, with rents that are not subject to unexpected rises.
It plans to investigate whether developers could contribute a lower community infrastructure levy as an incentive to provide private rent housing to meet local demand.
Also being considered are plans to use Section 106 agreements with developers to require that newly-built private rented housing is initially marketed to local residents and to offer longer tenancy terms than the normal six months.
Cllr Govindia said: "We want to see local people who want to rent in Wandsworth being given every opportunity to do so - especially if we're able, in some circumstances, to help them secure reasonable rental charges and remove the threat of unexpected rent hikes or the worry of short-term tenancies hanging over them.
"Many of our residents choose to rent because they enjoy the lifestyle that comes with it while others are looking to save as they rent. Therefore, we are taking steps to encourage developers to invest in building more private rent housing.
"By offering them incentives through planning agreements we want to see local people offered first refusal over new lets and have the option of longer term tenancies, given upfront assurances over rent increases and provided with a high quality management service."
As part of the council's plan to boost private rented provision, support will also be given to developers looking to build privately let properties in locations that traditionally suit such developments - such as town centres and near to transport links.
For housing-related advice in Wandsworth email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8871 6840.
Information on home ownership options available to council tenants and non-council tenants can be found at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/homeownership.
July 9, 2013