New company ‘Camden Living’ to target growing gap in housing offer

A new housing company is to be set up in Camden to offer more affordable rents to residents. The company also has potential to generate income for the Council to reinvest in services.

The new company will:

  • provide an improved and much needed ‘intermediate’ rental housing offer. I.e. improve housing opportunities for residents who can’t afford private rents but who don’t qualify for the housing register
  • give the Council, as sole shareholder, the opportunity to benefit from capital growth of assets to generate more funding to invest in new homes, schools and community facilities
  • potentially generate income which may be used to support Council services.

Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council said:

“London is facing one of its worst ever housing crises, compounded by severe government cuts and a Housing Bill that will only make the situation worse. We’re dedicated to fighting the Housing Bill but we’re also responding to the situation it has created by using innovative ways to offer more affordable housing options for our residents.

“We know that many people who are unable to afford sky high private rents are also ineligible to join the housing register for social housing. The creation of Camden Living can help to tackle this significant gap in affordability whilst also generating income for Council services.”

Camden Living’s first acquisition will be 52 flats from the Maiden Lane Community Investment Programme, currently earmarked for shared ownership sale, to let on flexible tenancies an intermediate rent that is affordable. The approach meets planning conditions for the scheme.

Councillor Hayward continued:

“As the Housing Bill enters the reporting stage in Parliament, we are reaching a critical point for housing in Camden. The Bill will affect all housing tenures, reducing the availability of genuinely affordable homes. We need to build more houses and provide more affordable rents to solve the crisis but this Bill will have the opposite effect and will reduce the number of homes being built whilst pushing rents higher.”

“New shared ownership homes are becoming increasingly unaffordable to residents due to continued increases in market value and the huge deposits now needed. By acquiring homes earmarked for private sale through the Community Investment Programme and letting them for intermediate level rents we are widening the rental offer available to our residents.”

The decision to form ‘Camden Living’ was taken at last night’s Camden Council Cabinet meeting. The full papers are available on the Council’s website. Camden Living will be wholly owned by the Council.