Only 10 per cent of social housing tenants who have been living in their homes for five years would be able to move out of the sector, a new report has found. Family Mosaic carried out a survey of residents who began their tenancies in 2006 in a response to government proposals to introduce minimum five-year tenancies as part of the Localism Bill.The report – ‘Changing direction’ – said that the government, along with housing associations, should develop new models to enable home ownership.
Brendan Sarsfield, chief executive of Family Mosaic, told Inside Housing that the 20,000-home association was examining the introduction of a shared ownership scheme which included a five-year rent holiday to encourage more social tenants out of the sector. Mr Sarsfield said that he was broadly in favour of shorter tenancies as a means of making more social housing available. ‘Lifetime tenancies may not encourage dependency, but they don’t encourage people to move on and find their own solutions either,’ he said. ‘We are facing a difficult world and we think this [short-term tenancies] may be part of the solution. ‘The old system didn’t work; we were chasing our tails and not producing what was needed.’ But tenants groups have reacted angrily to the findings.
Nigel Long, head of policy at the Tenants Participatory Advisory Service, said: ‘Five-year tenancies are going to undermine communities. The fundamental issue is that the government is trying to address the lack of housing by moving people on and that’s not going to work.’