Housing Strategy and Enabling

Frequently asked questions

Definitions:

What is affordable housing?

Housing to meet the needs of people who do not earn enough to pay for open market housing to rent or buy. It may include housing to rent or buy.

What is social rented housing?

Homes for rent at rents  below market rents set under national guidelines for homes owned or managed by Councils and Registered Social Landlords.

What is shared ownership?

You can buy a share of a home owned by a Registered Social Landlord and pay an affordable rent for the share still owned by the landlord.

What is intermediate rent?

Partly subsidised rents for homes owned by Registered Social Landlords. Intermediate rents are below market rents (usually about 80% of market rent) but higher than rents paid by tenants in social rented housing.

What is a market rent?

Rents that are not subsidised. They are based on supply and demand in an open market and the cost of alternatives such as owner occupation.

What is a registered social landlord?

Registered Social Landlords(RSL's) are not for profit organisations that include housing associations, trusts and cooperatives. They work with local authorities to provide affordable homes. As well as developing land and building homes RSL's also act as landlords managing and maintaining homes for rent.

 

Strategy and Policy:

What is the Sustainable Community Strategy?

The Sustainable Community Strategy is based on locally agreed priorities through the Local Strategic Partnerships operating in Harborough District and at County level to develop communities which are safe and inclusive; well planned, built and run;offering equality and opportunity for all. 

What is the Local Strategic Partnership?

The Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) is a group of organisations including local authorities who have agreed to work in partnership through the Sustainable Community Strategy (SCS). There is a Harborough LSP concerned with delivery of the Harborough District SCS and an LSP(Leicestershire Together)  to manage  the delivery plan (Local Area Agreement) for the whole of Leicestershire.

How does the Local Area Agreement help to deliver the Sustainable Community Strategy?

LAAs are the main way for central government and local services to work together. They also underpin the national performance framework and its priorities, through which central government measures progress.

The Local Area Agreement for Leicestershire is three year improvement action plan (currently 2008-11) developed by partners in the Local Strategic Partnership for Leicestershire  and agreed with central government. 

What housing related targets are included in the Leicestershire Local Area Agreement?

The following targets from the new performance framework for Local Authorities and Local Authority Partnerships published by the Department of Communities and Local Government:

  • Net additional homes provided (NI 154)
  • Number of affordable homes delivered (NI 155)
  • Percentage of vulnerable people who are supported to maintain independent living (NI142) 
  • Adults with learning difficulties in settled accommodation (NI145)

Who is involved in the Harborough Housing Partnership?

The purpose of the Harborough Housing Partnership is to involve local communities in supporting the Local Strategic Partnership in developing housing policies which promote the social, economic and environmental well being of the people of Harborough District. Any locally based group or organisation can be a member of the Partnership.

 What is the Local Development Framework?

The Local Development Framework (LDF) includes number of documents called Development Plan Documents setting out  policies for future development of Harborough District including how much development, where and when consistent with the Sustainable Community Strategy.

 

Affordable Housing Needs Assessment:

  How are needs for affordable housing assessed?

From local housing needs surveys and the the Strategic Housing Market  Assessment.

What is the Strategic Housing Market Assessment?

The Leicester and Leicestershire Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) looks at the way local housing markets work and how this affects need for affordable housing.  

What is a strategic housing land availability assessment?

Local authorities must carry out a strategic housing land availability assessment (SHLAA) to identify sites where future housing needs could be met. They could include previously developed land (brownfield sites) and suitable new sites (greenfield).

Delivery of affordable homes:

What are affordable housing requirements?

Developers who apply for planning permission may be asked to  contribute towards provision of affordable housing. Council Policy is set out in the Council's Supplementary Planning Document on Housing.

What is a Supplementary Planning Document?

Supplementary Planning Documents provide further detail about planning policies. They form part of the Local Development Framework and are taken into account when the Council decides on planning applications.

What is the trigger for an affordable housing requirement?

Any new housing site with five or more homes.

What is the affordable housing requirement?

Usually 30% of homes to be built on the site.

What is a Section 106 agreement?

 A legal agreement between the Council and the developer about what contributions the developer makes for affordable housing on a specific site as part of planning permission for the site.

What is a rural housing enabler?

The Rural Housing Enabler works with Parish Councils and the local community to identify need for affordable housing in rural areas through housing needs surveys.

What is a rural exception site?

Evidence of local need is essential for a successful application or development on a rural exception site.  All housing developed on an exception site must be affordable for local people and remain so indefinitely.

Housing Support Services:

Is there a home improvement agency in Harborough District?

Home improvement agencies are locally based not for profit organisations. They help older, disabled and vulnerable homeowners or private tenants to repair, improve,maintain or adapt their homes. Their main purpose is to help people to continue to live in their own homes in comfort, safety, security and independence.

What is housing related support?

Support services which are provided to any person for the purpose of developing that person's capacity to live independently, or sustaining their capacity to do so.

Finding a home:

Who do I contact if about finding a home?

For information about affordable homes in Harborough District go to www.harboroughhomes.org.uk

What is choice based letting?

Choice based letting allows people on the housing register to apply for advertised vacant affordable homes. For more information about choice based letting and how to go on the housing register in Harborough District go to www.harboroughhomes.org.uk

How do I find out about the mortgage rescue scheme?

The mortgage rescue scheme is aimed at families who are at risk of becoming homeless. It could include help to reduce mortgage payments or converting mortgage to rent.