Two ground-breaking policies have been announced this week by Islington Labour to help deliver more homes for local people.
Since 2010, we have seen 2,000 genuinely affordable homes built – including council homes for social rent – and Islington Labour is committed to delivering a further 1,500 new affordable homes. Despite the largest affordable homes building programme in a generation, like the rest of London, Islington faces a housing crisis.
Part of the problem we face in Islington is developers using unclear ‘financial viability’ assessments to reduce the amount of affordable housing required as part of new building projects. This is part of what happened at Mount Pleasant when the Mayor delivered only a fraction of the affordable housing we needed.
Under our policies, the council always secures the most affordable housing it can, and this week launched a new front in the battle to deliver the homes local people need. Since changes by the Tory Government in 2012 were brought in, it has become more common for developers to use excuses through ‘viability assessments’ to claim they cannot afford to build affordable homes.
In ground-breaking new guidance to developers, a number of measures will help us to what is right for Islington when assessing viability. You can read more about the new guidelines here.
But Islington Labour’s action to tackle the housing crisis doesn’t end here. In a separate pioneering move, the council has announced new rules to tackle the scourge of ‘buy-to-leave’ – where homes are bought and never lived in, before being sold on – denying local people housing.
By requiring developers to ensure that evidence is produced that homes are regularly lived-in, these new policies will aim to reduce the ‘wasted supply’ from these homes not being used to provide homes for local people. You can read more about these policies here.
Commenting on these new policies, Cllr James Murray, Executive Member for Housing and Development, said:
“Islington, like London, is facing a housing crisis and it’s vital that all new homes help meet the huge demand for places to live.
“Our new measures make it clear that “buy-to-leave” is unacceptable. They make clear that new homes have to, at the very least, be lived in – I think that’s a pretty reasonable thing to ask.
“There is growing evidence some developers use ‘viability assessments’ to their advantage, such as inflating land costs to say they can’t afford to build affordable housing.
“Our new rules make sure developers can’t game the system. We want to make the system transparent, clear, and fair, to help make sure the affordable housing we badly need is built.”