Local authorities have a legal duty to consider how the housing needs of their area are going to be addressed. All sectors of the housing market are therefore important, particularly the private sector, which provides 84% of homes in Wales. The private sector is made up of owner occupied homes (69%) and the private rented sector (15%).
The number of private sector dwellings has increased steadily over the last decade, due mainly to an increase in the number of privately rented dwellings. However, for many, home ownership has become increasingly unaffordable and unsustainable. Local authorities play an important role in increasing the supply of affordable homes in the private and social sectors, and are also encouraging a more flexible housing market to offer a range of intermediate options between ownership and renting in the future.
Privately Rented Homes
The private rented sector is growing in Wales and it plays an important role in providing homes for people who are unable to access social housing or owner occupation. Local authorities are working with private landlords to increase the supply of good quality privately rented homes. This includes a number of initiatives including:
- Landlords Forums
- Social Lettings Agencies
- Licensing houses in multiple occupation (HMO’s)
- Using legal powers to force landlords to improve standards, when this is necessary
Landlords and agents of private residential property in Wales are required by law to be registered or licenced, along with their portfolio of property. This follows the introduction in November 2015 of the Welsh Government’s Rent Smart Wales scheme.
Local authorities also encourage and support private owners to improve their homes. A key component of this support is the provision of home improvement loans, but councils are also assisting owners in a range of other ways including improvement agencies and equity release schemes.
Disabled Facilities Grants
Local authorities are responsible for providing disabled facilities grants (DFG’s), to help with the cost of adapting homes to allow people to remain living independently at home. The demand for DFG’s continues to rise and the projected increase in older households over the coming decades will continue this trend. Housing Associations receive a Physical Adaptations Grant (PAG) to adapt their homes.
Individual local authorities will provide further information on the support they provide for the private sector in their area.
For more information contact: Jim McKirdle