London council sets up company to target affordable rental market

A new housing company is being set up by Camden Council to target a "growing gap" in the supply of affordable homes for rent.

The London borough will be the sole shareholder in Camden Living, which will provide "intermediate" housing targeting those who cannot afford private rents but who do not qualify for social housing.

The council said the company will give it the opportunity to benefit from the capital growth of assets to generate more funding for investing in homes, schools and community facilities.

Camden Living will also potentially generate revenue that can be ploughed into local services.

The company's first acquisition will be 52 flats from the Maiden Lane Community Investment Programme. The properties, which are currently earmarked for shared ownership sale, will be let on flexible tenancies on affordable rent.

Cllr Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden Council, said: "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.

"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 while also generating income for council services."