Back renting, new housing secretary urged

Back renting, new housing secretary urged (iStock)

The new secretary of state for housing, communities and local government James Brokenshire should give his full backing to the rental sector and encourage Britons to see renting as a positive lifestyle.

This is according to build-to-rent developer Moda Living, whose managing director Johnny Caddick was responding to the news of the new ministerial appointment.  

Mr Brokenshire, who had previously been Northern Ireland secretary before leaving the cabinet for health reasons, takes over from Sajid Javid, who has been moved to the Home Office following the resignation of Amber Rudd.

Mr Caddick remarked: “Sajid Javid oversaw the biggest policy shift towards the rental sector we have ever seen.

"James Brokenshire must also focus on making renting aspirational, and Moda is delighted to support that effort with a promise of family-friendly tenancies, quality homes and a level of management and service that people deserve."

However, Mr Caddick expressed concern about the issue of continuity, with Mr Brokenshire becoming the fourth minister in charge of housing since 2015. He said solving the housing crisis "will take strong leadership from the government and a consistent approach" to make sure everyone has a good home to live in.  

A similar view was expressed by Aldermore Bank's commercial director of mortgages Charles McDowell, who said the new secretary of state should continue the work of Mr Javid instead of changing tack.

Blaming the housing crisis on a succession of "sticking plaster" solutions down the years, he said what is need is "long term strategic thinking" to tackle the issue in a coherent way. 

The government is currently on course to miss its target of building a million homes between 2015 and 2020, with last year being the first in that period where over 200,000 properties were built.

In recognition of the depth of the housing crisis, the target has been raised further, with the aim of 300,000 a year being constructed by the mid-2020s.