Over the last 13 months, a panel of experts have been gathering evidence to examine whether more can be done to increase the supply of affordable housing in Wales through maximizing the resources available. This is what we think. 

Affordable Housing Review Recomendations 

Over the last 13 months, a panel of experts have been gathering evidence to examine whether more can be done to increase the supply of affordable housing in Wales through maximizing the resources available.

TPAS Cymru were actively involved in two workstream areas to ensure the tenant voice was represented. This included the Rent Policy and Development Quality Standards (DQR) and Space standards workstreams. Other areas looked at as part of the review included, land supply, housing need, grants etc. We also facilitated a Wales wide survey of tenant views using our Tenant Pulse panel. The results from the survey contributed significantly to the panel’s evidence and thinking.

Last week the independent affordable housing supply review panel released their recommendations. The panel have spent the past year working to engage stakeholders across the housing sector to look at options to provide more homes in Wales.

The main areas of work the panel identified in the review included:

  1. Understanding housing need. Welsh Government should tell local authorities that they must provide local housing market assessments based on consistent timetabling, data and methodology across all tenancies.
  2. Housing quality standards should be developed by Welsh Government and must be simplified. These standards should be easier to use and not have conflicting requirements. The standards of new build homes must also be near zero carbon and the current goal of 2021 should be extended to 2025 at the latest to ensure all homes have the same standards regardless of tenure.
  3. Modern Methods of Construction should continue to be trialled to see which is best. This will enable an increased scale and pace of the development of affordable housing. The Welsh Government must look at how these methods can contribute to the delivery of near zero carbon homes.
  4. Rent Policy should be implemented over five years from 2020-2021 to ensure more stability for both tenants and landlords. Landlords should be focussing on considering Value for Money (VfM) alongside affordability. Any proposed rent increase can only be justified when an annual assessment on cost efficiencies has been carried out.
  5. Local Authorities as enablers and builders. The Welsh Government should encourage LAs and HAs to work in partnership and share their skills, capacity and resources. They should also work together to support local supply chains.
  6. Public sector land. An ‘arms – length’ body should act as a hub for public sector land management and professional services. This will speed up the development of public land for affordable housing.
  7. Financing Affordable Housing. This should be made possible through WG reforming the current grant system. This to include the introduction of a new flexible 5-year grant. The funding model should be based on fairness, quality and grant VfM transparency.
  8. Dowry and Major Repairs Allowance. An independent financial review of the Welsh Large Scale Voluntary Transfers in receipt of Dowry and the Housing Revenue Accounts of local authorities in receipt of Major Repairs Allowance.


TPAS Cymru, in giving our original evidence to inform the panels work we outlined that there should be:

  • Tenants and residents’ views and aspirations should be at the heart of any new policy direction on affordable housing. They should inform future standards and priorities.
  • Yes, we have a housing crisis and a need to accelerate the number of units we deliver. However, the need for quick, cost effective delivery could lead to a lack of emphasis on the “liveability” and ‘lifetime’ of a property and its design quality.

The importance of creating homes and communities where people want to live now and in the future is too often forgotten.

  • In particular, we are concerned that there is a danger of losing the “social” in social housing due to the budget and income pressures putting a greater focus on rental returns. Grant assistance is a key tool in ensuring that landlords are able to stay socially minded. This requires keeping rents affordable and being in a confident position to develop and allocate homes which is essential for the most vulnerable households in Wales.

TPAS Cymru have confidence that the recommendations provide key elements that:

  • Minimise the risk of losing the “social” in social housing as grants have been carefully considered.
  • Maintain standards of properties to ensure that there is the design quality necessary to thrive regardless of tenure.
  • Provide longer-term certainty to tenants in terms of rents.

In response to the recommendations, TPAS Cymru CEO, David Wilton said:

“Now whilst there weren’t specific recommendations about the level of tenant engagement necessary to inform the development of affordable housing, we are confident that these recommendations will co-inside and be reflected in the Tenants at the Heart review currently being carried out by WG. This, we hope will ensure tenants are engaged with in decisions about the provision of affordable housing in Wales, including rent policy”.