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Experts believe almost 26,000 of the North East’s cheapest rental homes could be lost between 2012 and 2020 – and one property campaigner believes this is “yet more evidence of the burning need to give renters a better deal”.

Government figures released last week showed that the total number of affordable homes available at social rent in the UK fell by more than 120,000 between 2012 and 2016, particularly as a result of Right to Buy.

Forecasters at the Chartered Institute of Housing predict that this will rise to 250,000 by 2020 – an overall drop of 10%.

If these figures were replicated across the North East, it would leave 25,951 fewer of the cheapest rental homes available in region, an area-by-area reduction of:

  • Newcastle – 3485
  • Sunderland – 3240
  • North Tyneside – 2494
  • South Tyneside – 2120
  • County Durham – 4500
  • Northumberland – 2584

The CIH believes new socially rented homes are “desperately needed” to address this “significant decline”, but property expert Ajay Jagota believes there is a far quicker and cheaper way to help the less-well-off into good quality housing.

The anti-deposit campaigner and founder of sales and lettings firm KIS and deposit-free renting solution Dlighted responded to the figures: “This is yet more evidence of the burning need to give renters a better deal.

“It’s no secret that there has been a long-term shift in the UK away from social housing towards the private rented sector. The problem is that the private rented sector hasn’t necessarily evolved to meet the needs of that demand.

“The biggest example of that is tenancy deposits, which place a huge financial burden on some of our poorest tenants – leaving good people left priced out of good homes rented from good landlords.

“The easiest way to help them would be to abolish tenancy deposits and for the industry to use sophisticated insurance policies instead.  Such a move could save the average renter £1400 while actually protecting property investors assets more effectively.

“The craziest thing is that the majority of social landlords do not take deposits, and they seem to manage perfectly well without relying on an out-dated and draconian deposit system.

“If privately rented homes are the future, why is the privately rented sector stuck in the past?”