Oxford has a housing crisis. Housing is the least affordable in the country, with 28% of renters paying higher prices than anywhere else outside London.
Too often people paying rent get poor service – there is little long term security for tenants to stay in their homes, basic rights aren’t respected by some rogue landlords, and repairs aren’t getting done.
But faced with little alternative people put up with paying through the teeth to be ignored. Greens want to take action to drive up standards in rented housing and to tackle the burden of rent.
There are more than 4,500 households on the local housing register waiting for social and council homes. As governments of Tories and Labour have both failed to provided houses for those who need them, the shortage of housing in Oxford has got worse, while across the country hundreds of thousands of homes sit empty. And then the bedroom tax and other benefit cuts are forcing people to look for smaller (and more crowded) houses - houses which again and again aren’t available in their communities.
Greens support increasing the number of council and social homes available to those who need them. Greens recognise that access to housing is a human right – the council must do more to meet the housing needs of people in Oxford.
- Took the lead in a 10 year campaign to introduce a Licensing scheme for Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
- Ensured the provision of affordable housing on urban sites and demanded more Council Housing.
- First suggested the rule that all new housing developments should include 50% affordable housing.
- Succeeded in pressing for more housing on urban sites such as the planned Westgate Development.
The Green Party will:
- Oppose the bedroom tax. We would oppose eviction for non-payment of rent that has resulted directly from loss of housing benefit under the new government ‘bedroom tax’ rules, and protect the security of tenure for tenants in council homes.
- Oppose evictions which result from cuts in benefits other than housing benefit.
- Continue to press for sustainable development in emerging area plans such as the West Barton Housing Scheme.
- Continue to press for an end to Right to Buy.
- Investigate the feasibility of a social housing rent freeze (or at least rent increases no greater than inflation) to help our poorest households and controlling private rents to make lower rents possible.
- Meet housing need and balance this against the necessity to protect our open spaces and the heritage of Oxford.
- Encourage the Council to buy more existing homes for use as social housing.
- Work to ensure that social housing, rented accommodation, and privatelyowned homes all have excellent levels of insulation to keep energy bills down and protect the vulnerable against fuel poverty.
- Push for setting up a Council-run letting agency – free from unfair letting agency fees for tenants and pushing up standards in rented housing.
- Bring back into use larger long-term empty commercial properties suitable for conversion to housing, including flats.
- Get tough with bad landlords but seek to redraft the confusing bureaucratic application process, with the aim of improving the quality of the private rented sector with more registrations.
- Establish a new deal for people who live on boats at residential moorings.
- Demand more eco-friendly council housing which protects tenants' security of tenure and gives credit to not only meeting social need but holding communities and families together.
- Support steps to reduce energy bills for social housing tenants.