Shapps unveils housing rent scheme
Published on 17 January 2012 11:00 AM
The Government has unveiled details of a voluntary scheme in which older people will be asked to move into smaller houses in a bid to allow local authorities to rent their homes to families.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said that councils would help older people living in bigger homes find more suitable accommodation in an extension of a scheme initially trialled by Redbridge Council in east London.
The responsibility for maintaining the property and renting it out to families at affordable rates would be taken on by council officials, with any profit being given back to the homeowner or their estate.
Mr Shapps said: 'Older people who should be enjoying their homes have watched helplessly as their properties have become prisons, and many have been forced to sell their homes and move into residential care.
'With nearly a fifth of our population expected to be over 65 by 2020, radical and urgent change is needed to ensure the nation's housing needs are met.'
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director of Age UK, commented: 'No one of any age should feel that they have to move out of their own home unless it is what they want to do. Nor should older people be blamed for the scarcity of affordable housing or the economic conditions that make it difficult or impossible for younger people to obtain a mortgage.
'Many older people have little equity in their homes and so cannot afford alternative housing options, and those who are considering downsizing often find that there is a lack of suitable housing options. Therefore we welcome schemes that give older people more choice and security.'
Copyright Press Association 2012