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Many decision-makers are far removed from the life experiences of the average Brit. This is definitely the case when it comes to home ownership. The UK’s builders, developers, mortgage lenders, planners and policy-makers more often than not enjoy higher-than-average salaries and may well come from families that have helped them get on the property ladder. Rentplus was born out of recognition of this.
The crash forced HAs to regear their balance sheets and the building of affordable homes slowed down. For Rich, this meant that any solution had to be able to withstand the cyclical nature of the housing market.
Rich Pillar, our founder, spent the start of the new millennium growing his Devon-based property company. By 2005 he was working with local housing associations (HAs) on developments under section 106 including quasi-residential schemes with an ethical investment angle – junior doctor accommodation leased to the NHS and student accommodation, for example.
His work introduced him to many people with good, secure jobs who were unable to buy a home. Time and again they told him that saving the deposit or the difficulties of proving a self-employed income were their biggest hurdles.
Their problems were made worse by the property boom, with house prices rising sharply in and around Plymouth. If people did manage to save, by the time they reached their initial target they needed yet more. This prompted Rich to start thinking about how to give people on lower and middle incomes a way into home ownership.