We're developing a new Housing Strategy 2013-18 that will set out how the Council and our partners will work together to tackle housing related issues in the Borough.
Our Strategy will be framed around three key themes:
Housing Supply – new build and making best use of existing stock
Housing Standards – the design, condition and management of homes and neighbourhoods; and,
Housing Support – ranging from housing advice to accommodation with on-site housing support.
The Housing Strategy covers all types of housing in the Borough, whether it is managed by The Gateshead Housing Company on behalf of the Council; whether it is privately rented from a housing association or private landlord or whether it is owned and lived in by the householder or family. It considers current and future provision of affordable housing in the Borough; the effects of homelessness in the Borough; the need for new housing and type of housing and supported accommodation to enable people to live independently in their own homes for longer. The strategy highlights the key priorities relating to these issues and set out how, the Council and its partners will work together to address these issues within current and future available resources.
Why do we need a Housing Strategy?
It sets a strategic framework which guides the Council and stakeholders towards partnership working to tackle issues and deliver the housing required in the Borough to meet need.
How does it affect me?
The aim is to maximise investment in housing and to ensure that everyone has access to good quality housing that is appropriate to their needs and that they can afford.
What is affordable housing?
It is housing which is provided to meet the needs of those who are unable to buy or rent housing generally available on the open market. In Gateshead this usually takes the form of Council or Housing Association property to rent although shared ownership schemes have been developed and will continue to be considered within future housing development schemes.
What is the Council doing to make sure there is more affordable housing?
Councils are no longer allowed to build new housing (with the exception of replacement dwellings) and the majority of new affordable homes are provided by Housing Associations in partnership with the Council. The Council, however, works with private developers and Housing Associations to bring forward sites for new affordable homes. For example, where private developers wish to provide homes for sale on larger sites, the Council will negotiate for a proportion of the site to be developed by a housing association for the provision of affordable homes.
The Localism Act 2011 has given local authorities a number of flexibilities in letting their housing stock including:
Introducing fixed term tenancies - Currently local authorities can only provide secure tenancies for life but from April 2012 councils will have discretion to introduce tenancies for a fixed length of time
Freedom to determine their own letting policy – Councils will no longer be required to accept all applicants on to the Housing Register. The new Act gives the council freedom to set its own policy regarding who should qualify to go onto the waiting list
Giving priority to existing applicants on the housing register – The new legislation allows councils to give priority to existing tenants over new applicants on the housing register
Discretion to limit succession – The Act allows discretion to limit tenancy succession to a spouse or partner only
Potential to discharge the council’s duty to homeless applicants by securing accommodation in the private sector – Currently the council can only use the private sector if the applicant agrees
The council’s response to the Localism Act is set out in its Tenancy Policy.