New social housing must be energy efficient and fit for the future

A report into England’s housing crisis claims that three million new social houses must be built in the next 20 years, in order to address the problem.  The report was authored by 16 independent commissioners, including former Labour leader Ed Miliband and Baroness Syeeda Warsi, and identifies expensive and insecure private renting as a particular barrier to home ownership, as well as a lack of readily available social housing.

The government has stated that providing social housing was a priority and that it plans to build 250,000 homes by 2022, including those for social rent. The condition of privately and social rented properties was mentioned in the report and remains a problem for many tenants.

Recently introduced MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards) legislation in 2018 required private landlords to ensure their properties were a minimum grade E in the knowledge that this will improve the living conditions of those on low incomes, with lower fuel bills and warmer homes. The Decent Homes Standard has driven social housing to lead the way with energy efficiency where the level of poor housing is about half that of the private sector.

“Social housing and local authority delivered about 33,000 homes in 2016/17, and therefore an increase to 150,000 a year for 20 years, to achieve the 3 million required, is a massive increase especially when you consider that the whole sector currently delivers approximately 280,000 homes,” explains Martyn Reed, Elmhurst’s Managing Director. “If the recommendation becomes reality, the house builders will need to build approximately 400,000 homes per annum, 42% more than today. What is important is that the mistakes of previous booms are not repeated. These new homes must be built to the highest standards of quality and energy efficiency to ensure that the future tenants don’t become the fuel poor statistics of the future.”