Registered Social Landlord is a term you may have come across alongside Social Landlords, Social Housing and Housing Associations. With the word Social cropping up so often in property circles, time may be well spent in exploring the origins of Registered Social Landlords, what they are today and how you can work with them to create win-win situations.
What is a Registered Social Landlord?
Before we start turning back the wheel of time to look at how Registered Social Landlords came into being, let us first clear up some of the questions around terminology. Along with Registered Social Landlord and Housing Association, you may also have come across Private Registered Providers of Social Housing. These three terms are all used interchangeably for charities, businesses and organisations that provide social housing.
Such organisations are very tightly bound by regulation and work alongside local authorities for the benefit of the community by providing housing and other associated amenities. The concept of Social Housing, either privately managed or through local authorities, has been around since the 19th century. Next we will step back to look at how the Registered Social Landlord came into being.
The History of Social Housing
Let’s begin by leaping back to Britain in the 1850’s. Around this time, large scale industrial expansion gave rise to workers being housed in cramped, poor quality housing. However, forward thinking philanthropists understood the benefits of providing better quality provisions for your workforce and began to provide quality housing alongside alms houses, educational facilities and social services.
With the creation of councils such as the London County Council towards the end of the century, demand had built for ‘affordable housing’ as workers from the country migrated into the cities. The first ‘council houses’ were designed to make a profit, and were implemented with mixed results. It is this era that created housing associations like the Peabody Trust and the Guinness Partnership, who still operate today.
Heading into the 20th century, council housing construction ground to a halt and remained dormant throughout World War 1 and the following years, mainly due to a lack of funds as opposed to good intentions. A glut of post-war trades people spurred research into alternative building materials that could make house building cheaper and quicker. It was through this research that concrete began to be accepted as a viable domestic building material and the concept of cavity walls was born.
World War 2 saw the large scale devastation of homes across the UK and during the period after the war, changing governments competed to construct new housing. Newly developed technologies allowed fast construction of semi-detached and terraced housing along with high-rise blocks. Such developments changed the shape and spread of cities like Glasgow, creating new housing developments that brought their own challenges.
Throughout this time, social housing providers were still in the minority but through the 1960’s and 70’s great awareness developed around poverty and homelessness. It is during this time that charities like Crisis and Shelter were founded. The Housing Act 1974 allocated increased public funding for housing associations to construct social homes, which gave rise to many of the housing associations that operate today.
The concept of Rent to Buy was also created by the Conservative Party around this period but it wasn’t until the dawn of the 1980’s that Margaret Thatcher famously implemented it. Rent to Buy offered council house tenants the opportunity to buy their homes at a huge discount, creating a huge shift of council owned stock into private ownership.
Towards the latter part of the 1980’s, the government created the Large Scale Voluntary Transfer Initiative that allowed large quantities of council owned housing to be transferred to the ownership of not-for-profit housing associations. A lifting of restrictions also allowed housing associations to receive funding from private finance.
Moving into the 21st century, the Housing Regeneration Act 2008 opened the doors for housing associations to be profit-making organisations. The change, which came into force in 2010, was designed to encourage competition and innovation within the sector. Social housing providers now include major development companies and some not-for-profit registered social landlords have created for-profit subsidiaries, with the aim of channelling profits back into social housing.
What does this all mean to you?
As a property investor you may decide to focus your efforts on supplying safe and comfortable properties to those who require assisted housing. Alongside renting to tenants in receipt of benefits and leasing to local authorities, Registered Social Landlords have boomed in recent years and may be worth your consideration.
Some will work with specific groups of people or those with particular living needs. The fact is that housing supply continues to increase as the government cannot meet the demand for homes, either through Registered Social Landlords, private landlords or council stock. It is interesting to note that the term ‘affordable housing’ is as much in the public eye today as it was in the 1800’s.
The ever-expanding population and inability of many to purchase a home or even afford full-market rent will continue the demand that can be helped by the private rented sector. Providing such homes has been a necessary part of our society and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.
Through our Social Housing Advanced Course we teach how to work with Registered Social Landlords to create win-win situations. The course is delivered by highly experienced investors who work with Registered Social Landlords, day-in day-out, to share professional insights with you that can give you the edge.