Threshold statement in response to the Report of the Housing Commission

Uncategorized

Threshold welcomes the finding of the Housing Commission Report. We are particularly pleased that there’s a recommendation to replace Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) with a system of reference rents, given Threshold submitted a proposal for a Local Reference Rent Database to the Review of the Private Residential Rental Sector. In addition, there is also a recommendation for the establishment of a publicly available register of rent, which is something we have long advocated for. The right to housing recommendation is a key one, with the Commission rightly recognising that “having a home is of fundamental importance to quality of life and that access to adequate housing – by facilitating the development of family, social and community relationships – promotes the common good.

Other notable and welcome elements of the report include the introduction of a land price register (presumably modeled on the residential property price index); emphasising the need for further accommodating households with a “wider mix of incomes” and the provision of affordable homes in urban areas for smaller households. The recommendation that standards for rented dwellings should be consolidated and subject to a risk-based inspection process would also be helpful to tenants, along with a strengthening of enforcement powers in the sector’s regulatory agencies.

We also very much agree on the need for a new Social Housing Act to ensure the sector is protected and not privatised, so that the size of the social and cost-rental sectors can reach 20% of the national housing stock. There is also recognition within the report on the need to reset HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) and RAS (Rental Accommodation Scheme) as short-to-medium-term measures for those eligible, rather than both being deployed as a long-term housing solution.

In Threshold’s view all of these recommendations, if carefully implemented, will result in greater access to suitable, affordable and good quality housing for all people across tenures.

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