MP BACKS AFFORDABLE HOUSING ENTERPRISE
BY WILLIAM TELFORD BUSINESS EDITOR/HERALD
A GOVERNMENT minister had given his backing to an innovative housing company formed in Plymouth and making a ‘step-change’ in the delivery of affordable housing nationally.
Tory Housing minister Brandon Lewis praised Millbay-based Rent Plus when he visited Plymouth to view new homes being built.
Rentplus, which has financial backing from private and institutional investors, has rolled out a new model designed to help a new generation of potential home-owners get onto the housing ladder at a time when saving for a deposit is difficult.
Under Rentplus model, at the end of a rental agreements, tenants have the opportunity to purchase their property and receive a 10 per cent gifted deposit from Rentplus to help their mortgage application.
Plymouth City Council has been working closely with Plymouth’s Pillar Land Securities and Tamar Housing Society to develop a scheme containing Rentplus homes at hartley Gardens.
The former Mannamead Centre community building, in Eggbuckland Road, is planned to be redeveloped into 29 new homes.
But when Mr Lewis visited Plymouth he was taken to another project in which there are Rentplus houses; the new Persimmon Homes’ and Tamar Housing’s Derriford project.
Here 105 homes are being built, 81 of which will be sold privately, 19 will be ‘rent to buy’ under the Rentplus scheme, and five will be social rented via Tamar Housing.
This is one segment of what will eventually be a 870 house development.
The minister said the Rentplus scheme was good and said” “For someone who has not got a deposit it’s a way of getting into home ownership.”
“And it’s an affordable way, you get that 10 per cent deposit.”
Mr Lewis added: “It’s also a good way for institutional money to get into housing.”
“Depending on sources there is £30 billion to £50 billion looking to be invested.”
“There’s a range of places where they can look and with Rentplus you have another excellent product.”
Richard Connolly, Rentplus chief executive, met the minister at the Derriford development. He told Herald Business: “We are really excited that the housing minister has taken interest in Rentplus.”
“And he expressed an interest in continuing to support us.”
He said Rentplus is involved in development of 11,000 homes nationally.
“The board has approved a business plan of 5,000 cpmletions by March 2012,” he said.
“We are a Plymouth company, growing out of the city, but also delivering in Plymouth.”
“In the past 18 months we’ve met with 80 local authorities, and people want to talk to us.”
But he stressed no matter how big Rentplus grew it was ‘committed’ to retaining its head office in Plymouth.
(Publicity supported by Dorcas Media)