On-Site Affordable Housing
It is a commonly held misconception that only larger schemes over 10 dwellings are required to provide onsite affordable housing. This stems from the NPPF’s definition of major development and the guidance at para 64 that affordable housing should not be sought on smaller schemes unless in rural areas.
There are also instances in rural areas where the only reason a scheme will be approved is if it is delivering 50-100% affordable housing to meet local needs (rural exception sites).
So, you have obtained a consent or submitted an application, and now need to know what to do with this affordable housing.
Some tenures (affordable/social rent, shared ownership) will be disposed of to a registered provider who will manage the affordable housing in perpetuity. Other tenures (discounted market ownership, First Homes) can be disposed of yourself, but with caveats, such as sale price restrictions and the requirement to market locally in the first instance.
So, where to begin?
There are many registered providers UK-wide, all generally operating in specific areas and with particular requirements in terms of location, tenure, quantity, size and many other criteria.
Local authorities will often also have a ‘preferred list’ of providers that should be approached first.
Like any ‘marketing exercise’, finding the correct providers to seek offers on your affordable housing can be difficult, time-consuming, and on smaller schemes it can often be very difficult to find any providers interested, as most prefer larger schemes for cost efficiencies on running costs.
It can also be difficult to know what the true value of your affordable housing is when this does not relate to the open market. Are the offers you receive reasonable and in line with local rates?
We benefit from a considerable database and working relationship with many RPs countrywide, as well as extensive experience of valuing affordable housing.
We can assist with the contact, negotiation and disposal of your affordable housing, and where this is not possible without changes to the existing s106 agreement or LPA’s preferred mix, we can negotiate changes in tenure or type to optimise your site for any RP.
We can also negotiate ‘cascade mechanisms’ whereby is no registered providers are interested in the proposed affordable dwellings within a certain timeframe then this can be changed to a commuted sum in lieu of affordable housing which can be delivered elsewhere by the local authority.
We will ensure you receive ‘best value’ for your affordable housing, whether on small sites, rural exception sites, or 100% affordable housing developments.
First Homes are a relatively new tenure type which local authorities are now requiring as part of the tenure mix of affordable housing. These types of housing are secured via s106 agreement which will include requirements such as local marketing and value limitations which change based on the local area you are operating in.
We can assist by advising on the value your First Homes units should be marketed at, and what legal requirements need to be implemented prior to marketing and disposal.
Call us today to discuss your affordable housing assistance needs.