Housing is an issue whatever area of Bristol you live in and whoever you are. Whether you’re trying to buy your first home, tenants putting up with bad landlords and high rents, homeowners keeping up with mortgage payments or, of course, if you have no home at all. Solving Bristol’s housing problems will be a key focus of a Labour-led Bristol. Here are our main pledges:
- Get Bristol building homes. We will set up a Council-owned company to oversee housing projects, with the target of building 2000 homes a year by 2020, 800 of which will be affordable. To help achieve this we will establish a ‘Bristol Bond’ to allow people to invest in housing schemes.
- Promote sites for housing. This will be in the form of empty, brownfield sites and Council-owned land.
- Work with local communities. We will promote communities identifying areas for development of new homes, and will support the development of alternative housing and other community initiatives such as co-housing, communal living, Community Land Trusts, eco homes, self-builds and local builders.
- Establish an Ethical Lettings Charter. In order to protect tenants we will create a charter for ethical lettings, and will establish an enforcement scheme to ensure that action is taken against landlords who fail to provide decent standards and service.
- Give tenants a voice. Working with housing associations, ACORN, the students’ unions and others, we will create a Bristol-wide Tenants’ Federation, and will reintroduce elected tenant representation on the housing management board.
- Bring empty homes and buildings into use. We will remove Council Tax subsidies for owners of empty properties, will make full use of our legal powers to bring empty homes back into use, and will produce a public register of vacant land to allow citizens to identify empty plots or buildings that could be brought into use for homes.
- Tackle homelessness. We will minimise homelessness through early intervention, and will work with and support young people who are at risk of becoming homeless. We will also, working with partners, adopt a “No Second Night Out” policy to reduce rough sleeping.
- Address the backlog of Housing Benefits Claims. The backlog is causing financial difficulties and anxiety for both tenants and landlords -; we will aim to clear it as fast as possible.
- Build and support stable and diverse communities. We will work to understand and shape a proper response to the challenges of gentrification through a Mayoral task force. We will also work with Bristol’s universities to manage the impact of student housing and to provide more purpose-built quality student accommodation.
Decent, affordable homes are the foundation of a successful city. Our aim is to create balanced, happy, healthy communities where people enjoy living and where children get the best possible start in life. You can read more about the points raised above, and our policies in other areas, in our manifesto by clicking here.