Tag Archives: homes within homes

Homes within homes – a vital complementary approach to the housing crisis

Our reliance on new build to solve the housing crisis fails us. Walk through most new housing estates and you will discover cheaply constructed flats that are unsuitable for families and children or houses that are largely unaffordable, whose price is inflated by a shortage of supply and not by the cost of house building – but credit availability. New build comes at a huge environmental and social cost, with implications for the well-being of our communities. The conventional response is to set targets for new build, ones that are never met; a case of setting the wrong measure to drive the wrong policy. It ends with the disgrace of algorithms determining how we build communities.

Seen through a societal lens promoting the common good, exclusive reliance on new build is wrong. We need to seek complementary solutions, ones consistent with our core Lib Dem values, policies whose outcome is not determined by privately owned companies or the State.

Our largest, physical, social asset is our existing housing stock. By encouraging homeowners to create social tenancies, providing separate areas for living for tenants at affordable, freely negotiated, social rents we can increase the supply of homes. Social rents include the provision of household services: energy, council tax and water charges which become costs shared between homeowner who pays them and tenant through the rent they pay. There are no shared living areas, with homeowners and tenants only sharing access ways. By sharing services there is no cost for converting metered services keeping internal conversion works to a minimum, works that are reversible. Energy use becomes a shared resource. Every single house in the UK has the potential to provide what I refer to as a “home within a home”.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 11 Comments
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