The logic used over to our left on that political spectrum – given our own stances that’s everyone except thee and me of course – can confuse at times. A useful example being this complaint about private landlords as opposed to their subsidised competitors in the social rental sector.
Into this growing gap between social housing and home ownership the build-to-rent model has given property developers a new way to profit from Generation Rent.
Ooooh! Profit! We know this must be bad!
And for tenants, there’s a promise of a more streamlined experience, with bespoke, high-quality management rather than an unreliable, individual private landlord.
Build-to-rent company Fizzy Living, for example, boasts of providing a five-star service and promises to complement the “hectic lifestyles of work-hard, play-hard professionals”. Tenants are typically offered longer tenancies than for standard rental accommodation, with contracts of up to three years or more, and other amenities, such as gyms, communal lounges and cinema rooms.
Those longer contracts being one of the major demands of the housing campaigners. That people can know they’re settled, have a home. So far, so good. And on to the bad:
Meanwhile, a Shelter report in January found that half of families in UK social housing are being ignored or refused help when they report poor or unsafe conditions.
Subsidised and bureaucratic landlords are bad. Hmm.
So, there we’ve what thee and me would call the basic lesson of markets. When people have to compete for custom then the customers gain more of what they desire. Because that’s how you do compete, by offering people what they desire. The subsidised sector doesn’t have to do this and therefore doesn’t. So, obviously, we’re going to call for more private landlords competing for custom, aren’t we? In order to drive up standards and the consumer experience?
Ah, no, you’ve not grasped the logic here yet:
Driven by the market for the market, build-to-rent is just another so-called solution that continues to allocate housing on the basis of wealth rather than social need.
Markets are bad. M’Kay? And profit is worse. We must maintain the bad landlords in their delivery of a crap housing experience because, well, because social housing is a good thing whatever the actual evidence says, right? Given that absence of profit it must be a good thing, by definition.