Inside Housing – Insight – Will the social housing sector sell its hard-to-renovate homes?
Instead, the organization will conduct a property-by-property analysis of these difficult-to-repair homes. “What is the impact on the customer? Can they get to work without a car, can they go to the supermarket instead of the corner store? There will be houses where it does not make sense for a family to be there, and those that we would try to get rid of, ”he explains. “But if a property can only access EPC’s D band but in all other respects it is a good social home, it would be absurd to push it out the door.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Williamson, director of strategic asset management at Sovereign, explains that the organization has developed a “Homes and Place standard” and has assessed all of its 60,000 homes against this technical standard, in taking into account durability as well as other factors.
“If you think about it at the community level, it could be an entire street or an entire estate – you have to recognize how disruptive this policy is. [selling when void] could be”
“We will sell houses, but we will sell them where they are vacant and every time we sell a house, we will replace it with another new house. So we are creating social capital, ”he says. “As a housing association, you have to ask yourself: why hang on to a property that you know is inefficient when you could reinvest in new sustainable housing, close to employment and transport?
Social landlords must also consider that a disproportionate number of their inhabitants live in fuel poverty. They cannot accept the conversion to alternative zero carbon heat sources if it makes the situation worse. Most are now – at least without work to improve the fabric of a house, which requires less heating.
There is a policy prohibiting new gas connections for new construction from 2025, but no date set for gas shutdown for existing homes. Nonetheless, if we are serious about reaching net zero, it will have to happen at some point and improvements are needed now to make sure we are ready when it does.
“We don’t yet know what happens when the gas goes out. Air and ground heat pumps will not work for all homes. If you were to simply replace a gas boiler with an electric one in 2025, energy bills would skyrocket, ”says Ian Thomson, executive director of asset management at Magenta Living.
But some homeowners face all of these concerns and still rule out selling homes for the sake of durability.
Robert Gilham, director of business strategy and assets at Walsall-based WHG, said the board of directors of the 21,000-home owner had looked into the matter and decided he wanted to take an “authentic” approach to addressing the issue. the net zero challenge. “We have stocks that will provide a negative NPV. We could consider getting rid of it and putting it in the business plan, ”he says. “But we would outsource the problem to the private sector, which probably won’t.”
This is not the only concern that comes with large scale sales of empty homes. “Because we are operating in low value areas, we would be likely to sell to rental owners and of course you have the consequences, which can lead to the slow decline of the neighborhood, in which we are going to remain the organization anchor, “he says.” Our first instinct is to say, in fact, we have to tackle the problem. Either we have to find a way to make the investment or we have to look at the opportunities for regeneration. “
Another senior official from a large organization that excludes sales adds, “If you think about it at the community level, it could be an entire street or an entire estate – you have to recognize how disruptive this policy is. [selling when void] could be.”