Issues and Challenges for Councils
Improving people’s access to good quality affordable housing is essential for improving community well-being, both now and for future generations.
The strategic housing role of councils involves assessing local housing markets and needs, determining local priorities and planning and working with partners to deliver the good quality affordable housing that is required.
Local authorities work across all tenures and with a wide range of partners to ensure that within their area there is:
- A sustainable owner-occupied sector
- A thriving, well managed, good quality private rented sector
- Good quality social housing, managed efficiently and effectively
Local authorities have a duty under the Housing Act (Wales) 2014 to review homelessness in their area, develop a strategy to prevent homelessness and provide help for people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness. Where homeless cannot be prevented, local authorities can provide emergency temporary accommodation and support.
More information for people who find themselves homeless can be found at Shelter Cymru.
Building New Homes
There are currently some 87,000 homes in Wales that are owned and managed by councils. Following the ending of the Right to Buy in Wales and the removal of previous UK Government restrictions on borrowing, the 11 councils with housing stock are bringing forward plans for rapidly increasing numbers of new council homes.
The Government’s current position is set out in the Building Safety White Paper published in January 2021.
Second homes & short-term holiday lets
In some areas of Wales second home ownership is a controversial subject, and second homes and short-term holiday lets can have a significant impact on local housing markets. The government’s position and action is outlined here.
Councils also have roles related to the private rented sector such as working with landlords to improve conditions and management practices, bringing empty homes back into productive use, and supporting the introduction of innovative initiatives like Rent Smart Wales. Councils also have statutory powers of enforcement relating to housing conditions.