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Affordable Rural Housing for Local People

Watch our film featuring key members of the community and residents talking about what affordable housing for local people has meant to them.

It is widely recognised that those living on low or modest incomes in rural communities face real difficulties when trying to find a home of their own within a village. Reasons for this are many, such as:

 · Right to Buy enabled council house tenants to purchase their home at a discount without these homes being replaced.

· Loss of tied accommodation as agriculture becomes more mechanised.

· High house prices and low wages in rural areas. In Essex the ratio of house price to income is 10.1 and mean annual income in 2015 was £29,780. Income required for an 80% mortgage (2016) is £68,680 (80% at 3.5x)*

· Gentrification where small houses are extended  reducing the number of first time buyer properties that are available.

· Restricted supply of suitable sites.

It is not always apparent that there is a demand for affordable housing within a particular area or what the benefits of developing a small scheme for local people will bring in terms of helping to sustain local service.

 At RCCE we believe communities have the power to influence change. We provide guidance and information to help in planning a thriving & sustainable future.

In the case of affordable housing the Rural Housing Enabler (RHE) can act as an independent advisor providing impartial assistance in developing affordable housing for people with a local connection.

*National Housing Federation – Home Truths 2016/17

 The government defines affordable housing as 

Affordable housing: housing for sale or rent, for those whose needs are not met by the market (including housing that provides a subsidised route to home ownership and/or is for essential local workers); and which complies with one or more of the following definitions:

a) Affordable housing for rent: meets all of the following conditions: (a) the rent is set in accordance with the Government’s rent policy for Social Rent or Affordable Rent, or is at least 20% below local market rents (including service charges where applicable); (b) the landlord is a registered provider, except where it is included as part of a Build to Rent scheme (in which case the landlord need not be a registered provider); and (c) it includes provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households, or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision. For Build to Rent schemes affordable housing for rent is expected to be the normal form of affordable housing provision (and, in this context, is known as Affordable Private Rent).

b) Starter homes: is as specified in Sections 2 and 3 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 and any secondary legislation made under these sections. The definition of a starter home should reflect the meaning set out in statute and any such secondary legislation at the time of plan-preparation or decision-making. Where secondary legislation has the effect of limiting a household’s eligibility to purchase a starter home to those with a particular maximum level of household income, those restrictions should be used.

c) Discounted market sales housing: is that sold at a discount of at least 20% below local market value. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. Provisions should be in place to ensure housing remains at a discount for future eligible households.

d) Other affordable routes to home ownership: is housing provided for sale that provides a route to ownership for those who could not achieve home ownership through the market. It includes shared ownership, relevant equity loans, other low cost homes for sale (at a price equivalent to at least 20% below local market value) and rent to buy (which includes a period of intermediate rent). Where public grant funding is provided, there should be provisions for the homes to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households, or for any receipts to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision, or refunded to Government or the relevant authority specified in the funding agreement.

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government – July 2018

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Affordable Rural Housing for Local People: Information Pack

Abbreviations and Jargon.docx

Frequently Asked Questions

Information on Exception Sites.docx

Partner Organisations.docx

The benefits of affordable rural housing to the local community.docx

The role of the Rural Housing Enabler.docx

What is a Housing Association.docx