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Rentplus is the country’s leading affordable rent to buy provider, offering an innovative solution to the UK’s unaffordable housing market. Fully funded by institutional investors, Rentplus works in partnership with local authorities and housing associations to accelerate the delivery of thousands of new affordable rent to buy homes across the country.
Steve Collins, Chief Executive at Rentplus, believes that new flexible definitions around affordable housing in the NPPF will give local authorities more confidence to include Rentplus’ unique, affordable rent-to-buy model as part of a range of affordable housing options, to meet local families’ needs and aspirations.
Collins said: “The changes to the NPPF today will, I believe, enable more local authorities to give local working families greater choice – and the first real opportunity to buy their own home.
“One of the key barriers preventing home ownership is raising the deposit, with the average first time buyer now needing to save for 13 years just to get on the property ladder, let alone affordability or adverse debt history. A Rentplus home can help families meet the challenges they face.
“Our unique “rent, save, own” model gives households the opportunity to buy their home in five, 10, 15 or 20 years depending on their financial circumstances and a 10% cash deposit from Rentplus to top up their savings to do so. It’s an unique housing option that offers families the opportunity to buy with a 10% gifted cash deposit. We provide a real chance to make home ownership a reality for families providing stability for many for the first time, giving them somewhere to put down roots within a community, knowing that the opportunity to own is real.”
Over 60% of occupants of Rentplus homes already come from housing waiting lists, with up to 35% of these moving out of existing social housing, freeing up these homes for the most in need on council waiting lists. Rentplus is already assisting local authorities to meet their wider housing obligations, and changes announced today will enable us to help more local families who are unable to access home ownership for a variety of reasons, including inability to save for a deposit due to high private sector rents or a poor credit history, as well as key workers and working homeless households to achieve their dream of owning their own home.
The extended obligations placed on local authorities as a result of the Homeless Reduction Act from 2018 means increased associated costs of temporary accommodation at a time when local authority budgets are severely constrained.
Collins added: “This country has a growing and significant section of private-sector renters who, despite having a good income and being good tenants, find themselves excluded from affordable housing solutions. We desperately need to accelerate delivery and include alternative affordable housing solutions such as our affordable rent to buy proposition as part of a package of viable and practical solutions for these households.
“The Rentplus model is an innovative home ownership tenure which uniquely provides a route into home ownership for those who cannot immediately afford a deposit, widening access to home ownership for thousands of families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to own their own home. Tenants are charged an affordable rent (80% of market rent including service charges), with security of tenure through renewable 5 year tenancies for up to 20 years, enabling them to save more each month, put down roots and to invest in their local communities.”
With a low running costs in addition to the sub-market rent, tenants are able to save whilst they are renting. They also have no repair or maintenance costs as Rentplus’ housing association partners manage the homes and are responsible for looking after the properties.
Rentplus has already enabled families to take their first step towards achieving their aspiration of home ownership in Plymouth and elsewhere in Devon, Dorset, the Cotswolds, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. There has been significant demand for the schemes, with one home attracting 275 registers of interest. With a pipeline of 10,000 new homes, with 5,000 due to be in contract by 2020, Rentplus plans to deliver more homes this year in Devon, Somerset, Northamptonshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, and Milton Keynes.