What Role for the Private Market in Fostering Affordable Housing?

UIPI - HSP Joint Parliamentary Event

What Role for the Private Market in Fostering Affordable Housing?

19 February 2019 
Brussels, Belgium


On Tuesday 19 February 2019, the International Union of Property Owners (UIPI), the Housing Solutions Platform (HSP), and MEP Jan Olbrycht (EPP) hosted a debate at the European Parliament, in the framework of the EP URBAN Intergroup on the role of the private rented sector in providing housing for the most vulnerable.

Starting from a report written by FEANTSA and Fondation Abbé Pierre on the mobilisation of the private rental market in order to provide social solutions in Europe, the event focused on social rental agencies as intermediaries between landlords and low-income tenants.

Social rental agency schemes are a form of public or non-profit social intermediation between landlords and low-income-tenants, which aim to tackle the housing crisis. The scheme provides guarantees to private landlords in exchange for renting their properties at a reduced price to households in difficulty. “Social rental intermediation cultivates trust between landlords and low-income tenants“ said Matthias Zu Eicken who presented Haus un Grund’s work in the field of social rental intermediation, shedding light on the importance of the promotion of such model.

Yet, despite its clear advantages, this method also presents certain challenges: risk of caseload, risk of reduced funding for social housing, limited interest from landlords due to difficulties in lining-up social and commercial goals, reduced sustainability of the social impact, etc.

The speakers – cross-sectoral experts and practitioners- questioned the durability of the initiative:  on the one hand, the intermediaries (public entities and housing associations) need a guarantee that private landlords will continue their commitment in the long term, and on the other hand, landlords need to benefit from more fiscal flexibility.

Ruth Owen from FEANTSA affirmed: “Given the current house crisis, rental mediation is one solution among others.  Its added value is that its quick and can activate untapped parts of the market through renovation, mobilizing vacant stock, cleaning up black markets etc.”

In conclusion, seen the importance of strenghthening UIPI relationship with different stakeholders, this event was the right opportunity to show the proactivity of the private sector as well as property owners’ eagerness to contribute  to  the fight against the current European housing crisis, while securing themselves an important role throughout the whole process pioneered by rental intermediation. This was the core message put forward by Stratos Paradias, President of UIPI, during his intervention.

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