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Developing alternatives to rented housing

Briefing paper, case studies | February 2011

This IPC briefing paper, commissioned by the Maritime Charities Funding Group, offers guidance for housing providers and trustees of seafarer organisations on the advantages and practicalities of providing mixed-tenure developments, particularly for the older seafaring community.

Given the tendency of older people to be owner-occupiers, the paper examines alternatives to renting that allow seafarers to move into specialist accommodation while maintaining equity in their property - focusing on leasehold sale and shared ownership, and other permutations of those arrangements. Its findings are based on a review of literature on existing mixed-tenure projects and telephone interviews with three large providers of older people`s housing.

The paper examines the appeal of different tenure arrangements to prospective occupiers, and the potential financial advantages for providers/developers, including the use of sales receipts to offset borrowing on projects. It also looks at the risks involved - such as large upfront costs, and potential loss of control over re-sale - as well as the importance of thorough assessment of demand before beginning the scheme, and effective marketing thereafter, including informing GPs , hospitals, charitable and professional bodies. Practicalities are then addressed, including: the physical location of multiple tenure types within a development - whether integrated or segregated; arrangements for management and maintenance of properties; and support services for older people moving from ownership to leasehold, such as financial and legal advice, and moving services.

The paper concludes by addressing a series of particular concerns identified by interviewed providers, and likely to confront other providers moving into leasehold/shared ownership provision for the first time, and the lessons they learned in addressing them.