Think tank suggests sector reform could help solve housing crisis

It’s no secret that many of those looking to take their first step on the property ladder are struggling, with many of the younger generation forced to live with parents or seek help from friends or relatives.

Whilst proposals for changes have been made by a number of organisations and political figures, a new report has suggested that the housing sector should be completely reformed to help alleviate the affordability crisis for younger buyers.

Resolution Foundation is calling for indeterminate tenancies to be introduced as the sole form of available private rental contract in England and Wales, as well as local authority registration for English landlords to be made compulsory.

The think tank also proposes that a form of ‘light’ rent control should be brought in, as a way to steady rents in the private sector.

Covering an area included in the government’s improvement agenda, the report also looks at redress, calling for a housing tribunal system to be introduced for consumers. This would have the power to adjudicate on challenges to rises in rent as well as possession applications made by landlords.

Where buying is concerned, the Foundation states that Help to Buy equity loans should be purely reserved for those with a household income of under £60,000 per annum – this is based on research which suggests over a third of the scheme’s current recipients could have bought a home without the subsidy.

The proposal which has unsurprisingly received the most publicity was also made with an intention to, amongst other benefits, help first time buyers access the property market. The introduction of an additional £10,000, or the ‘citizens’s inheritance’ has been suggested as a restricted use asset endowment for all young adults, with a view to providing extra support for housing, pension saving and entrepreneurship. It would be funded through the revenue generated through a lifetime receipts tax – in replacement of inheritance tax – and levied on recipients with lower tax rates, a lower tax-free allowance or fewer exemptions.

The benefits of the proposals aren’t purely limited to first time buyers, with the Foundation also suggesting stamp duty rates should be halved in order to encourage movement in the market.

The full report can be accessed here.

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