Knowing our Borough 2014

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1 Knowing our Borough 2014 Housing 1 Introduction In Richmond Borough, the majority of households own their own home. The borough has the fourth smallest social housing sector in London. The local authority does not own any housing stock, i.e. all social housing in Richmond is owned and managed by Registered Providers (housing associations). Affordability of housing is a key concern, especially for young adults and families: the borough has the highest house prices in Outer London. The borough s Local Economic Assessment (2010) highlights that high housing costs are one of five factors that critically influence the Borough s economic competitiveness. Richmond has high land values and relatively few sites with development potential, which can limit the opportunity for affordable housing development. 2 The situation in Richmond 2.1 Tenure Richmond Borough has a large owner occupied sector: 63.6% of households own their home, either outright (29.8%) or with a mortgage (33.8%). The private rental market is dominated by corporate lets and lets targeted at professionals: 21.9% of borough households rent privately. Richmond has the fourth smallest social housing sector in Greater London in which to address housing need: 12.6% of borough households live in housing association homes. Older borough residents are more likely to own their home (76.5% of borough residents aged 65 or older live in a property that they own).

2 Figure 1 - Tenure of households in Richmond Owned outright Owned with mortgage or loan Shared ownership (part owned and part rented) Social rented Private rented from private landlord or letting agency Private rented - other (e.g. from employer) Living rent free Table 1 Tenure of households in Richmond Tenure Number of households Percentage Owned outright 23, Owned with mortgage or loan 26, Shared ownership (part owned and part rented) Social rented 10, Private rented from private landlord or letting agency 16, Private rented other (e.g. from employer) 1, Living rent free Total 79, Households by tenure, 2011 Census. *Figures may not sum due to rounding 2

3 2.2 Housing in Richmond is expensive Residential property prices are extremely high in Richmond: local house prices are the highest in Outer London. This makes it challenging for low to medium income households to access home ownership. While average prices are high there is variation across the borough: in general, prices are highest towards the east of the borough (e.g. a 2 bedroom flat in Barnes ward cost on average in April 2014) and near transport links (e.g. train stations) and prices are lower towards the west of the borough. Table 2 Average price by property size Size of property Average price in Richmond One bedroom (flat) 275,300 Two bedrooms (flat) 388,000 Two bedrooms (house) 520,600 Three bedrooms (house) 720,800 Hometrack; based on sales and valuation data for the six months up to April 2014 The private rental market in Richmond is strong. Private rented housing is most highly concentrated in the east of the borough in Richmond, Kew and Barnes and near key transport links, such as train stations. Rent levels are high and most private rented accommodation is self-contained flats. Table 3 Median rent by property size Size of property Median monthly private rent level in Richmond One bedroom 1,148 Two bedrooms 1,499 Three bedrooms 2,054 Four bedrooms 2,999 Hometrack; data is for the year up to July 2014 An analysis of newly advertised private rental properties across the borough in the year up to May 2012 showed that only a small proportion (6.3%) of private rental 3

4 properties in the borough are affordable to households who receive part or full household benefit. This indicates that there is strong demand for housing in the borough from households who do not need help to pay their rent. 2.3 Housing development Affordable housing development in Richmond is cyclical, which is characteristic for this type of development. Development is challenging due to several factors, including high land values, small sites (relative to sites in other London boroughs) and there being large areas of protected green spaces and conservation areas. In 2013/14, 57 affordable housing units were built in the borough, of which 47 were rented units and 10 were shared ownership units (part buy, part rent). Table 4 Housing development Year Social rented units: target rent level Social rented units: Affordable Rent level Shared ownership units Total The Affordable Rent product was not available until , when the Localism 6 40 Act 2011 was enacted In-house Council records; Corporate Partnership & Policy Team (Housing) 4

5 Figure 2 Housing development Shared ownership units Social rented units: Affordable Rent level Social rented units: target rent level 0 As of September 2014, 97 affordable homes are programmed for completion in 2014/15, including affordable homes provided through purchase on the open market. There is a pipeline of 101 further affordable homes programmed for completion after 2014/15 or with current unimplemented planning permission, including schemes that are subject to the completion of Section 106 agreements Homelessness Homeless people in the borough may or may not be eligible for statutory homelessness assistance. The former group typically move into temporary accommodation (hostel, bed and breakfast or leased property) and then into settled accommodation (either social rented or private rented). Homeless people who are not eligible for statutory homelessness assistance are eligible for advice. They may stay with friends or relatives ( hidden homelessness ) or they may be street homeless. 109 people were witnessed sleeping rough in Richmond in The Council commissions SPEAR to provide a range of services for rough sleepers and single homeless people in the borough. 1 A Section 106 agreement is a legal agreement under Planning legislation to secure planning obligations to support local infrastructure in order to address impacts of the scheme 5

6 In the last quarter of 2013, 57 Richmond households were accepted as statutorily homeless. There were 237 borough households in temporary accommodation at the end of this quarter. In the period , the number of Richmond households accepted as statutory homeless has increased, as represented below P1E returns This increase in homelessness matches the London-wide and national trends, and reflects the worldwide economic downturn. Correspondingly, the number of Richmond Borough households in temporary accommodation has also increased. P1E returns However, looking at the trends on a shorter timescale, there have been reductions in both the number of statutory homelessness acceptances and the number of households staying in temporary accommodation. This likely reflects the responsiveness of Richmond Council to significant housing legislation changes and welfare system reforms: for example, Richmond Council ran a homelessness 6

7 prevention programme targeted at all borough households identified as potentially affected by the benefits cap. P1E returns P1E returns 2.5 Specialist housing Specialist housing provision of different kinds exists in Richmond to meet diverse needs. For example, there are supported housing schemes for people who use a learning disability service, schemes for those with mental health conditions, and ageappropriate schemes for older residents. Age-appropriate schemes include Extra Care housing, where residents can receive care services in their own home. 7

8 2.6 Condition of houses Accommodation can be unsuitable either due to disrepair or because it does not meet the needs of a resident with a disability. Over 99% of social rented housing in Richmond meets the Decent Homes Standard. In 2012, only 23 such units did not meet the standard. It is estimated that 24% of private sector dwellings in the borough contain hazards that meet Category 1 of the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). Category 1 hazards are serious enough to require Council enforcement action. Richmond Council provides services to support residents to remain living in their homes as long as possible, where appropriate. For example, the Home Improvement Agency administers Disabled Facility Grants which fund home adaptation works needed by a disabled resident. Another example is the Council s Winter Warmth Scheme which tackles poor health caused by cold housing: this can be related to fuel poverty as well as to inadequate insulation. 2.7 Resolving complaints Since 2010, the borough has supported social housing tenants and leaseholders by offering a Tenants Champion service for complaints resolution. This is a unique service which has attracted praise from the (national) Housing Ombudsman Service. Members have committed to continue the service following the May 2014 local election. Insights from the Tenants Champion s casework have informed service development. 3 Key themes 3.1 Affordable housing Richmond Council is committed to working with development partners to deliver more affordable housing provision. In a challenging funding environment, Richmond Council supports innovative approaches, such as funding an Extensions Programme to relieve overcrowding in the social housing sector and supporting redevelopment of 8

9 unused garage sites into housing. Where appropriate and where feasible, Richmond Council contributes funding to keep social rented housing rent levels affordable. 3.2 Housing and health Richmond Council recognises that housing is a social determinant of health, i.e. a resident s housing situation has bearing on their health. For example, it is known that a rough sleeper has an average life expectancy of 47 (men) or 43 (women) compared with 80 (men) or 83 (women) in the UK population overall. Also, people in temporary accommodation tend to have poorer nutrition than the general population. Therefore, the Council is working to developing synergies between housing and health services, e.g. a Health Needs Assessment (Homelessness in Richmond upon Thames) has been developed. Richmond Council is also considering whether to develop more housing with care on-site for older residents (Extra Care housing). 3.3 Supporting residents The Council has committed to continue providing a Tenants Champion service to support social tenants with long-standing complaints against their landlords. Lessons learnt from this service inform service development in areas such as developing the links between mental health providers and social landlords in tackling anti-social behaviour. 4 Further information The Borough s strategic housing plans are outlined in the Housing Strategy This is an umbrella strategy which builds on and refers to existing strategic housing documents such as the Tenancy Strategy (2013) and the Intermediate Housing Policy Statement (2012). The Borough s approach to tackling homelessness is set out in the Homelessness Strategy , informed by the Homelessness Review The Tenants Champion s Annual Report for outlines the achievements of this enhanced complaints resolution service in this period. 9

10 The Health Needs Assessment Homelessness in Richmond upon Thames 2014 analyses the health needs of the borough s homeless population, appraises current service delivery and will inform future prevention work by health services. Report contact Ali Negyal, Housing Policy and Projects Officer 10

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