Budget plea: Let landlords solve housing crisis
A leading North East lettings agent has responded to news that a government scheme promising to get 100,000 families onto the property ladder has helped just 1500 people by calling on the Chancellor to use next week’s budget to let landlords solve Britain’s housing crisis.
Ajay Jagota of KIS Lettings believes George Osborne could tackle the UK’s chronic shortage of homes by using next week’s budget statement to announce steps to help landlords bring Britain’s 710,000 empty homes back into use.
These steps could include encouraging local authorities and housing associations to sell unwanted and unusable properties to investors for negligible fees alongside government grants, loans or financial incentives to allow them to bring the properties up to standard and to keep rents low.
Official statistics released this week showed the government’s flagship NewBuyscheme – aimed at helping first time buyers buy new build homes with smaller than usual deposits – has helped just a fraction of the 100,000 families it promised to, leading Ajay, who manages properties for some 700 landlords across the North East from branches in Sunderland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside, to call on them to think again.
He said: “Schemes like NewBuy are perfectly noble, but are clearly inadequate in solving Britain’s housing shortages.
“At the same time, landlords and lettings agents are all too often being treated as part of that problem, when we could be part of the solution.
**“Statistics show there are 50,000 homes standing empty in the North East**alone. With a little creative thinking and for a modest investment the government could rapidly bring hundreds of thousands of properties to the market with minimal effort, just by giving landlords the power to turn boarded up buildings into family homes.
“We only need to look at the success of the so-called 50p homes in the East End of Newcastle – where once abandoned council properties are now much-loved homes valued of at least £150,000. News this week that Liverpool is piloting a similar scheme shows that this strategy is rightly coming back onto the agenda.
“Not only would projects like this allow the government to regenerate rundown communities cheaply, as this money would mostly be spent on giving work to local tradespeople and buying materials from local businesses they would boost the economy too.
“At the end of the day, both the economy and the housing market will only really start to improve when the banks start lending again, and that must be the government’s priority. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible to have at least 50,000 North East homes ready to go within months with just a little imagination.”
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ajay Jagota .
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