06 Jun 2023

CIH Cymru welcomes Welsh Government Green Paper on fair rents and adequate housing

The Welsh Government has published its Green Paper on securing a path towards adequate housing – including fair rents and affordability. 

The Welsh Government’s vision is that every person in Wales should be able obtain a safe and affordable home that meets their needs for the different stages in their lives, a vision shared by CIH Cymru.

The UN identifies seven criteria which should be met for accommodation to be considered as adequate housing. These are:

  • Security of tenure
  • Availability of services, materials, facilities, and infrastructure
  • Affordability
  • Habitability
  • Accessibility
  • Location
  • Cultural inadequacy.

CIH Cymru fully support legislation to incorporate adequate housing into Welsh law and the Welsh Government’s use of the UN’s seven criteria that make up adequate housing. It is these criteria that have formed the basis of our #BacktheBill campaign, along with partners Tai Pawb and Shelter Cymru.

We welcome the opportunity to respond, in detail, to the issues raised by the Green Paper around affordability in the private rented sector in Wales and the need to make the private rented sector more equitable for landlords and tenants. We urge a cautionary approach as our research in Northern Ireland outlines, rent controls could lead to unintended consequences at a time when there are already acute pressures on the supply of private rented homes in Wales, making it more difficult to deal with ever-increasing numbers of people entering temporary accommodation or being added to housing waiting lists.

Matt Dicks, national director, CIH Cymru, said:

“We do need to get the balance right between affordability and ensuring there is sufficient supply available to cope with demand, and intervention in the private rental market at some level may well be required in the short to medium term, which could be linked to improving standards. But we must not fall into the trap of looking at one housing tenure in isolation. The fact remains, that one of the key drivers of the current housing crisis is the historic and systemic undersupply of social and affordable homes over decades, of which Private Rental Sector affordability is arguably a symptom. Any intervention in the PRS rental market should not deflect from the Welsh Government’s key ambition to build 20,000 new low-carbon homes at social rent in this Senedd term.

“CIH Cymru believes that legislation to incorporate the right to adequate housing through a progressively realised approach will compel statutory authorities to bring forward plans about how we deliver the right over the timeframe of progressive realisation, and those plans would identify monitoring arrangements and enforcement measures, as well as the investment needed to meet the scope of the legislation.

“We believe that legislation to incorporate the right in Welsh law should be the starting point on a journey that will address other issues raised in this Green Paper around affordability and the delivery of adequate housing. For us, it’s clear that the time to act and bring about positive, long-lasting change is now, through legislation.”

We will be consulting with our 1,000 members in Wales, as well as the wider sector, to respond to the Green Paper.