Lib Dems Launch Revolutionary New Housing Policy

Today the Lib Dems launch ‘Rent to Own’ - which helps first-time buyers build up a share in their home through renting.

Young people will be able to buy their own home without a deposit to help them onto the housing ladder under radical Liberal Democrat manifesto plans.

This revolutionary scheme is a fundamental shift in housing policy and will give young people caught in ‘generation rent’ a chance at home ownership.

It means working young people who are unable to afford a deposit will, rather than be trapped in rental accommodation forever, be able to own their own home.

First-time buyers will steadily build up a share in their home through monthly payments equivalent to rent until they own the property outright after 30 years, just like a normal mortgage.

Under Liberal Democrat plans the Government would partner with housing associations and other providers to deliver ‘Rent to Own’ houses where monthly payments are no higher than market rent.

Our policy forms part of Liberal Democrat plans to deliver 300,000 homes-a-year, with the government bridging the gap between private sector building and demand.

It also builds on ground-breaking work by social enterprise Gentoo Group, who have rolled out a similar scheme – called Genie - in the North East and plan to expand into London later this year. 

Why this is necessary?

  • House ownership has plummeted for the under 35s in the last decade, with just 36% of 25-34-year-olds owning their own home, down from 59%.
  • Prices are now so high many working young people are unable to save enough for a deposit despite earning enough to meet future mortgage repayments.
  • Surveys show 82% of people want to own their own home.
  • If home ownership rates across all ages fall as low as among the under-35s, the government will face a fiscal time-bomb - paying more pensioners’ rent through housing benefit.
  • It is much more affordable for government to fund Housing Associations to deliver “Rent to Own” homes than traditional social rented properties.
  • Delivering Rent to Own alongside affordable rented properties means we can afford to get to the scale of housebuilding we need, while still balancing the budget.

Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Portsmouth South, Gerald Vernon-Jackson said:

“For many young people, saving up for a house deposit and getting a mortgage simply isn’t possible. They deserve better. Rent to Own will mean, regardless of their background and family circumstance, they will be able to make the dream of home ownership a reality.

“This is about building a stronger economy and fairer society, and making sure Generation Rent has the same opportunity to get on in life as their parents and grandparents before them.”

Peter Walls, Chief Executive of Gentoo Group, said:

“I am delighted the Liberal Democrats have recognised our innovation and are aiming to make this scheme scalable across the UK. 

“A now proven concept, Genie has already unlocked homeownership for many that were excluded.

“At Gentoo, we aim to address societal challenges and developed Genie to let more people access homeownership in a fair and equitable way.

“We are looking forward to Genie launching in London later this year.”

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