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A new solution to local housing needs

Rentplus has very strong relationships with local authorities and in particular those with aspirations for growth. The credibility of high-level financial backing offered by Rentplus means that affordable housing can be delivered quickly and in volume to realise strategic priorities.

Building new affordable homes will alleviate housing waiting lists and provide much-needed developments in regions across the country, as well as replenishing housing stock. 

By utilising the Rentplus model, local authorities can benefit from a significant increase in the number of homes available at affordable rents. There is also the potential to add value to council-owned land through inclusion of the tenure.

Rentplus promotes mixed tenure developments and Rentplus villages to achieve a step change in delivery of affordable housing. We have a commitment to neighbourhood planning and establishing strong communities who will take pride in their homes and the local area. As properties will be managed by partner housing associations, let at affordable rents to tenants aspiring to home ownership, local authorities can be assured their strategic housing and economic priorities will be addressed. 

These developments can also kick-start existing approvals which may have stalled due to the changing financial climate, as well as stimulating the local economy through new jobs, training opportunities and boosting the supply chain. 

Using the Rentplus model will also allow local authorities to benefit from New Homes Bonuses. 

We work in partnership with local authorities to agree scheme specific local lettings plans to ensure that the allocation of Rentplus homes assists the local authority to meet their housing responsibilities including housing people from the waiting list, enabling local people to stay in their communities and to support inward investment and local employment.

 1.       Palmerston Heights, Plymouth

 The first Rentplus scheme is at Persimmon’s Palmerston Heights development in Plymouth.

There are 19 Rentplus homes, all of which are 2 and 3 bedroom houses. The first residents moved into the Rentplus homes in October 2016. Tamar Housing also procured six social rented homes on the same estate, enabling them to improve the cost effectiveness of services to their tenants.

 Residents for the properties available for 5 years were taken from the help-to-buy waiting list. All had a local connection to Plymouth, were first time buyers with earnings under the shared ownership salary threshold.

The remaining homes, available for 10, 15 or 20 years, were allocated via Devon HomeChoice. The properties attracted huge interest with over 200 bids received in less than 24 hours.

14 households were accepted from the choice based lettings system, a breakdown of the needs bands are as follows:

Source

No. tenants

%

Devon HomeChoice Band B

3

18

Band C

7

41

Band D

2

11.5

Band E

2

11.5

Help to buy waiting list

3

18

The residents work a wide variety of jobs including retail (3), healthcare (3), manufacturing (8), administration roles (3), skilled trades including trainees (3), armed service (1) and domestic/catering (2). One household has an IVA whilst a further has a CCJ – both have been allocated homes with a 10 year purchase option, giving them ample time to clear their debts and be ready to apply for a mortgage with a good credit history.

The age range of the residents is from 25 to 47 years old. Of the 17 households, 9 do not currently have any savings and the remainder have savings of between £2,000 and £7,000.

Type of accommodation

Number

%

Private rented

5

30

Social rented (Council or Housing Association)

5

30

Living with family

6

35

Armed services housing

1

5

2.       Corelli estate, Sherborne, Dorset

The first residents moved into the Rentplus homes at Persimmon’s Corelli estate in Sherborne in March 2016. Occupation was phased, with the last residents moving into their homes in August 2016.

 There are a total of 33 Rentplus homes at this development, comprising:

  • 14 x 3 bed houses
  • 13 x 2 bed houses
  • 5 x 2 bed coach houses
  • 1 x 4 bed house

There is a mix of families, couples, single parent families and single people in the properties.

All residents are working, either full-time, part-time or self-employed in a variety of roles across healthcare, education, hospitality/catering, construction, factories, retail transport, engineering, clerical, farmer, childcare, automotive.

Incomes range from £20,000 up to £65,000 at the top end; the majority of household income is in the median range of £25,000 – 35,000.

The 33 households moved out of the following type of housing: 

Type of accommodation

Number

%

Private rented

18

55

Social rented (Council or Housing Association)

8

24

Living with family

6

18

Previous owner

1

3

3.       Moorgate, Lechlade 

Lagan Homes, an SME builder, developed the Moorgate scheme of 19 stone-built homes in Lechlade-on-Thames in the Cotswolds. Rentplus has six properties comprising 2 x 2 bedroom homes, 3 x 3 bedroom homes and 1 x 4 bedroom home. 

Our housing association partner, GreenSquare, invited applications for the homes using the Gloucestershire Homeseekers Choice-Based Lettings scheme. Four residents were allocated their homes through the CBL scheme; the remaining two were sourced through separate advertising.

The first residents moved into their homes in August 2016. All the households are couples with children; their age range is from 32 – 48 years old; the 4 bedroom home has been allocated the 20 year purchase option.

 Gross incomes range from £25,000 to £61,000 per annum; two residents are self-employed whilst others are employed in the care sector, public sector and engineering. One household has a cleared CCJ and they are using the Rentplus rental period to build their credit history in advance of buying their home. 

Type of accommodation

Number

%

Private rented

3

50

Social rented (Council or Housing Association)

3

50

4.       Flanders Close, Bicester 

The first Rentplus scheme in Oxfordshire is Flanders Close, part of Mulberry Homes Stratton Park development in Bicester. This is also our first flatted scheme. 

The Rentplus homes comprise 10 x 2 bedroom flats in a three-storey building; 60 expressions of interest were received when the flats were first advertised. 

Our housing association partner is Harrow Churches Housing Association (HCHA). Cherwell District Council identified suitable households from their waiting list and passed their details to HCHA to allocate the properties to applicants based on their assessment of their circumstances.

The residents’ ages range from 23 to 52 years old; two are self-employed with the remainder working in a range of occupations from the prison service, forestry service, social care, retail, logistics and hospitality. Incomes range from £13,320 to 52,200 per annum.

One tenant is disabled and ex-forces; another has learning difficulties whose his parents have established a trust fund for him which will purchase the property for him in five years’ time. The Rentplus home gives him independence and a secure future and gives his parents peace of mind. 

Type of accommodation

Number

%

Private rented

2

20

Social housing (Council or Housing Association)

1

10

Living with family

5

50

Armed Forces accommodation

1

10

Owner

1

10

5.       Saxon Fields, Cullompton

Rentplus has 20 homes on the Barratt Homes Saxon Fields development in Cullompton. The first ten residents moved in to their new homes in August 2017; future phases will be completed during 2018.

The 20 homes comprise 11 x two bed houses & 9 x three bed houses and are managed by our housing association partner Cornerstone.

Mid-Devon District Council requested that Cornerstone write to all 1500 applicants on their Home Choice list rather than inviting applications through the on-line system. In total, 136 expressions of interest were received for the 20 homes and 45 applications for the first 10 homes. Of these, the majority have moved from private rented homes, with seven applicants registered on Devon Home Choice.

The residents are aged between 26 and 38 years old and are employed working in a diverse range of occupations, including engineering, health & social care, NHS, construction, highways, catering and delivery. Their incomes range from £17,300 to £37,000, some have debt and all have savings. 

Type of accommodation

Number

%

Private rented

9

90

Social housing (Council or housing association

1

10

 6.       Knighton Rd, Wembury

 Working with another local developer - J&M Homes Ltd - with a history of building smaller high quality homes, Rentplus has six properties on this small development in the South Hams district in Devon. Tamar Housing is the Rentplus partner housing association.

The six Rentplus homes comprise 2 x 1 bed flats and 4 x 2 bed houses. The residents moved in during July 2017 and all were allocated their homes via Devon HomeChoice.

One resident is self-employed, the remained are in full-time employment in a variety of occupations including from nursery nurse, NHS, double glazing and marine engineering. Their age ranges is from 20 – 53 years old and their incomes range from £12,000 to £24,000, reflecting the smaller size of these properties. 

Type of accommodation

Number

%

Private rented

1

16.5

Social housing (Council or Housing Association)

1

16.5

Living with family

4

67

 Get in touch today to see how Rentplus could help you provide more affordable housing.

East of England LGA

"In the East of England, we have a growing economy, and a really significant need for quality new housing to support that growth. Rentplus offers local authorities a new and realistic way to provide affordable housing in support of working people, with a route into home ownership. I look forward to seeing it used to accelerate development on major sites, and to supporting our market towns by attracting and retaining young families into those communities."

Cecilia Tredget, Managing Director, East of England LGA

Sedgemoor District Council

“I am really excited about the Rentplus housing product. I think it offers a fresh, desirable and complementary affordable housing option for hardworking local people to find a home in a place they want to live, at a price they can realistically afford. 

“Rentplus...will work alongside the delivery of the council’s traditional affordable housing supply, offering genuine additionality in supply.

“I believe that Rentplus provides a welcomed opportunity for lots of people who aspire to own their own home and, with support, can achieve home ownership rather than a life in expensive and insecure private-rented accommodation. Furthermore, it also provides a cost-effective alternative to shared ownership for households that do not have a deposit to purchase. 

“We are confident that our relationship with Rentplus will prove successful as we work towards the delivery of 400+ new homes over the next few years.”

Duncan Harvey, Affordable Housing Policy & Development Manager - Sedgemoor District Council

Plymouth City Council

“We are pleased to be working with Rentplus to bring forward a new model of housing delivery aimed at supporting aspirant first time buyers as they struggle to find a home of their own. 

“Rentplus is demonstrating its ability to secure ethical institutional funding into the provision of affordable housing. It has also adopted an exemplary approach to community engagement which is increasingly important as we work with local communities to make the case for new homes.

“Our Plan for Homes has the ambition to deliver 1,000 new homes a year for the next five years, accelerating housing supply by delivering a range and mix of well-designed greener homes to meet the city’s needs. Rentplus will complement our growth ambitions by creating 500 homes that people find attractive and affordable to live in.”

Paul Barnard, Asst Director for Strategic Planning & Infrastructure - Plymouth City Council 

Tetlow King

"Pioneers in delivering innovative affordable rent to buy housing for aspiring home owners. Tetlow King Planning are proud to be assisting Rentplus in making affordable home ownership a reality for many people who don't want to be caught in the spiral of renting in the unsecure private rented sector."

James Stacey, Director - Tetlow King Planning

AECOM

“Rentplus aligns well with national planning policies and guidance that seek to increase delivery of affordable housing (and growth in general), particularly paragraphs 47 and 50 of the NPPF. Rentplus cannot be defined as solely affordable rent or intermediate housing, as such a change to the NPPF definition would help to support new models such as this. LPAs preparing plans or making decisions on planning applications can integrate and support the provision of Rentplus affordable housing at their discretion, as many have done already (as have the HCA via a Short Form Agreement). 

Right to Buy, Help to Buy and Starter Home products require applicants to have a deposit or to have the means to get a deposit together. If someone is currently in social rented property or the private rented sector and can’t rely on a deposit from their parents, a viable solution for the ‘missing middle’ or ‘generation rent’ can be Rentplus. To help bring forward affordable products like this a step change in delivery is required capable of providing flexible tenures in response to changes in national policy. 

Rentplus benefits from institutional investment and so is not reliant on subsidy or grant. Rentplus can be scaled up more quickly than traditional social housing delivered by LAs or RPs who are constrained by borrowing limits. The Rentplus village concept can provide affordable housing in the first or early phases or take on serviced sites and plots delivered directly with their own contractor partners. For products such as Rentplus to achieve the scalability desired changes are required to national policy and guidance to allow products such as this to help bring forward a step change in delivery, capable of filling and exceeding the gaps created by the proposed planning, housing and welfare reforms. 

Rentplus is designed to be attractive to the private sector and acceptable to LAs and RPs. Rentplus’ funders like the fact that the products are let on a 20 year FRI lease as it means they are regulated within the social housing sector  and administered by RPs. The future strategy is to form a national network of small RPs to share best practice. In instances where an RP is likely to lose much of its stock the Rentplus product can offer a solution to continue delivery of pipeline stock by directly working with the respective RPs to identify a revised and appropriate tenure split.  Rentplus would seek to work with smaller RPs and allow them to grow organically off- balance sheet, receiving a management fee from Rentplus for administering the Rentplus affordable units. The model is simpler to traditional affordable housing, RP partners would provide financial advisers to help tenants set up mini-cash ISAs and to demonstrate creditworthiness. 

For Rentplus to reach its full potential, we recommend that complementary policies in tenancy strategies and RP allocation and exchange policies align with policies in Local Plans. Rentplus’ mixture of rental income and capital return makes it an attractive investment product for pension funds and ethical investors. The Rentplus model can be grown organically at scale and (through further investment locally) is capable of creating a virtuous circle of investment in the Local Authority area. For these reasons we are of the view that Rentplus aligns well with the national planning policy and would help to meet local objectively assessed needs.”

David Carlisle, Principal Planner, Strategic Planning and Urban Design - AECOM

 

South Cambridgeshire District Council

“We know that people in the district have a very wide range of housing needs. Clearly, we have people in need of social rented homes as they are not able to, or may not want to, get on the housing ladder. However, we also have a huge number of people who are the squeezed middle. These families often have a good household income but are struggling to afford to buy their first home often because saving a deposit is difficult. We are working really hard to find innovative ways to address the problem and warmly welcome Rentplus’ plans that will help local people in the area.”

Cllr Lynda Harford, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing

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