Millions of people across the country are struggling to cope in a sector that is clearly not fit for purpose, leaving tenants and responsible landlords fending for themselves in an unregulated lettings market. That experience is all too familiar to many people in Nottingham, which has a large and growing private rented sector. There are now more privately renting households in the city than there are households renting from the local authority or housing associations.
In Nottingham, the growth in private renting has been seen across all age groups, but most markedly among the young. Over the past 10 years, home ownership among 16 to 34-year-olds has fallen significantly. Back in 2001, 39% of the city’s homeowners were in that age group, but by 2011 that had declined to 27%, and those figures exclude students. People renting privately in my constituency tell me that they desperately need security so that they can build their lives in one place, become part of a community and live without the threat of eviction if they make a complaint about conditions or the management of their home.
In Nottingham, substantially fewer homes have been developed since this Government came to power, despite new affordable homes being built by our councils arm’s length management organisation, Nottingham City Homes. According to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s own figures, in the last three full years 630 homes have been built in Nottingham by a mixture of private and housing association builders. That compares with 1,520 in the preceding three years and 3,680 in the three years before that.
Demand for housing in the city is increasing, but Ministers are doing nothing to address local supply, and the banks continue to withhold finance from the smaller construction companies that know the market and could make a huge difference. The Government seem to be passively reliant on developers to bring forward planning proposals, even in inappropriate locations, when too many brownfield sites lie empty. It beggars belief that for all the talk of localism, under this Government a developer is able to ride roughshod over the views of many hundreds of local residents in Wollaton and the local authority, who all oppose plans to build new houses on local allotments.