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We have spent many years getting our rent-to-buy model right and now we are on the ground delivering our homes across the country. However, we understand that – as with all new ideas – proof of concept is important, as is an evidence base to demonstrate Rentplus’ contribution to meeting local housing need. In light of this, we are building up a strong evidence base to demonstrate how our homes best meet local housing need, as well as finding out where our Rentplus tenants have moved from so we can better understand the wider impact of Rentplus on the housing market. The results of the research conducted by Tamar Housing of our tenants at Palmerston Heights, Plymouth is fascinating. Over a third of the occupants were previously living in social housing prior to moving in to their new Rentplus homes. This means that these homes have been released for the local authority to house people in housing need. A further third of our Rentplus tenants have been housed from the housing waiting list.
Although it is still early days, this data indicates that the Rentplus model offers a win-win for everyone. Not only are we providing affordable homes for those who are looking for an affordable opportunity to get on the housing ladder, but it has the additional benefit of freeing up scarce affordable and social housing for people in housing need. On the basis of this evidence, we strongly believe that embracing affordable rent-to-buy will go some way to helping relieve the pressure on local authority housing waiting lists and making best use of affordable housing.
The proof really is in the pudding. The UK needs to recognise that there is more than one path to home ownership and creative solutions are required to solve the housing crisis. This early data exemplifies that affordable rent-to-buy models really do help those shut out of the housing market and puts them in the best position to own a home of their own whilst making a positive contribution to the wider housing issues that local authorities currently face.
Richard Connolly is CEO Rentplus.