Liverpool’s new housing company hopes rent to buy will boost home ownership

A city council’s new housing company has been launched with a ‘special offer’ in hand — the chance for Liverpudlians to become homeowners through a rent to buy scheme.

Foundations, solely owned by Liverpool City Council, has been established to build and renovate around 10,000 homes in the city, part of a £1 billion investment programme, over the course of the next decade.

Part of its remit is to do its bit to get local people onto the housing ladder, which is where that rent to buy scheme comes in; by offering a reduced rent on Foundations’ properties, it is claimed they will be able to save up for a deposit to buy the home.

However, the rent to buy scheme isn’t up and running yet. The company, which launched earlier this month, and the council are devising the detail of how the scheme will operate and who would be eligible to access the scheme. They expect to officially launch the scheme next year.

Mayor Joe Anderson
Mayor Joe Anderson

Foundations is the brainchild of Liverpool Mayor, Joe Anderson. The company is intended to be a vehicle to improve the city’s housing, “revolutionise” the rent to buy sector, and drive up council tax receipts for the council. The company also wants to stimulate economic growth by involving local businesses in the construction work.

“We recognise that getting the cash together for a deposit can be a major challenge for many first-time buyers so the new rent to buy scheme will play an invaluable part in addressing this problem,” Anderson said.

“I have also asked the Foundations team to explore other financial incentives and by the time homes are available to buy in 2019 there will be an opportunity for some of those, assessed on a per scheme basis, to be available Rent to Buy or through an alternative incentive.

“Giving people hope and a stake in this city’s future is at the heart of Foundations which is why it is by far the most exciting project I’ve been involved.”

Frank Hont, chair of Foundations, added: “Our ambition for Foundations will be to transform the way housing works for the people of Liverpool. One of the ways we want to achieve this is by giving people from all walks of life the opportunity to get on to the housing ladder who may struggle to otherwise secure a conventional mortgage.

“Our intention is that the money from both house sales and rents will then be reinvested back into the Foundations programme to help create even more homes and support more people in our city as they take the first step on to the housing ladder.”

According to the city council, the potential billion-pound programme is seen as fundamental to addressing the city’s need to develop 30,000 new homes by 2030. There will be a mix of property types, including family homes, refurbished houses and apartments.

The local authority has established procurement frameworks to maximise the involvement of local contractors in delivering council contracts, including on Foundations projects. The tender for the framework will go live this month and be complete by March 2019.

“Foundations is identifying a range of sites in various ownerships across the city, within neighbourhoods, the city centre and waterfront as potential sites for redevelopment,” said Mark Kitts, Foundations’ chief executive.

“Foundations will be committed to delivering training and skills opportunities for young people in the city. We’ll be working with contractors who will be encouraged to use local supply chains and locally-sourced labour. In addition, we’ll work with providers such as higher education colleges to deliver on-the-job training, including apprenticeships for young people who want to forge a career in the construction industry.

“Foundations is also keen to work with landowners who share our ethical ambitions.”

In September, a detailed planning application was submitted by Birkenhead-based partnership homes developer Lovell Homes on behalf of Foundations to build more than 100 homes in the Yew Tree area.

The company is proposing to build 107 new houses located between Denford Road, Ackers Hall Avenue and Dunchurch Road. If approved, the council said construction on the new houses will start in early 2019, with the first phase of homes completed by 2020 and the second phase by 2022.



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