Pioneering affordable housing scheme up for national award

Release Date: 11-Mar-2015
A pioneering affordable housing scheme that we manage has been shortlisted for the 2015 UK Housing Awards.
The first QSH properties in Mirfield

The first QSH properties in Mirfield

A pioneering affordable housing scheme managed by Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) has been shortlisted for the 2015 UK Housing Awards.

The Kirklees rent-to-buy scheme, which was the first of its kind in the UK, involves a private company – QSH – buying new homes from developers and renting them out to tenants at an affordable rent, without any government subsidy.

Fifty percent of the rent paid goes towards a deposit, up to a set maximum, and the tenants agree to buy the homes within a certain period of time. If they move out without buying, the deposit they have built up stays with the property and is passed onto the next tenants.

There are now 15 QSH homes in Mirfield and Cleckheaton, with more in the pipeline. The properties are managed by KNH, which also manages 23,000 homes on behalf of Kirklees Council.

The Kirklees scheme was a pilot for both QSH and KNH and has proved beneficial for both organisations. It enabled QSH to persuade City institutions that investing in affordable housing could help foster economic growth whilst giving them good returns on their investment. For KNH, the scheme has helped increase the availability of affordable homes and free up more social housing for those who need it.

The UK Housing Awards recognise outstanding work by housing organisations to improve the lives of people in their communities and are organised by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and Inside Housing magazine.

Now in their 19th year, this year’s awards attracted more than 250 entries from all over the UK. KNH is now one of five left in the running for the category of ‘diversifying your business’, which recognises how housing organisations are working in different ways to have the biggest possible impact in their communities. The winners will be revealed in London on 21 April.

KNH Chief Executive Simon Rogers, said: “It was a real coup that Kirklees was chosen to test out this new approach to affordable housing, and I’m delighted that the scheme has been so successful that it has been recognised by the Chartered Institute of Housing.”

Paul Hardisty, Chief Executive of QSH, commented: “It is wonderful that we’ve been shortlisted for a UK Housing Award for our work with KNH on our first rent-to-buy scheme. This is just the beginning – we plan to roll out our right-to-buy model across the UK, partnering with local authorities, housing associations and investors in order to help people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to raise a deposit and generate a credit rating to get onto the housing ladder.”

CIH interim Chief Executive Gavin Smart said: “The UK Housing Awards recognise the great work being done by housing professionals and organisations across the industry, but they also push us all to do better as a sector. We hope the achievements of our finalists will inspire others as they aim to provide the best possible services for residents and communities.”

Emma Maier, Editor of Inside Housing, said: “The quality of the entries rose again this year so even to get this far is an amazing achievement. In the face of some really stiff competition, KNH has shown it is performing at the highest level - well done!”

Further QSH developments are planned in other areas of Kirklees and will be available to anyone who meets the application critieria, though first preference will be given to social housing tenants.

If you would like to be considered for the new homes, please email or call 01484 416439.