Mid-market rent research reveals high tenant satisfaction but limited awareness

mid market rent stockNew research into mid-market rent (MMR) has found high satisfaction levels among tenants living in the properties but there is still limited awareness among many people about what mid-market rent is, the potential benefits it offers and whether it might be an option open to them.

The research was commissioned by CIH Scotland in partnership with Wheatley Group to gain a better understanding of the strategic drivers behind the development of mid-market rent (MMR) housing in Scotland. It was carried out by Anna Evans Housing Consultancy, now part of the Indigo House Group.

There are currently estimated to be between 3,000 and 4,000 MMR homes across 21 local authority areas in Scotland.

The research found that an overwhelming majority of MMR tenants were impressed with the quality of their homes, emphasising the ‘high standards of design’, ‘modern features’ and ‘value for money’.

Around half of MMR tenants taking part in the research said they planned to stay in their MMR home long term while the remaining half had ambitions to save up to buy their own home.

Despite the strongly positive overall assessment of mid-market rent from current tenants, general public awareness remains limited with 86% of people surveyed as part of the research saying they had never heard of mid-market rent.

The research concludes that, while there are potential opportunities to develop more family mid-market rent homes in areas where there are few affordable alternatives for families, the scope to develop mid-market rent properties aimed at older people remains less clear.

It recommends that local authorities should share knowledge of the positive role MMR can play particularly in areas where it has not yet been introduced. While recognising the positive role MMR can play in increasing the supply of affordable housing, increasing choice of type of housing and contributing to regeneration, it also highlights potential problems of using public subsidy to compete directly with the private sector. It recommends specific guidance to developers on associated competition and state aid considerations.

A final report of the research findings was officially launched at a special session on mid-market rent at Day 2 of the CIH Scotland 2017 annual conference yesterday in Glasgow.

Commenting on the research, Lorna Wilson, research and development manager at Wheatley Group, said: “We are pleased the research highlights the positive experience tenants have had after moving into a mid-market home. This certainly chimes with the feedback we have received from our own mid-market customers.

“Although it is still a relatively new tenure, our experience is that it is already very popular and a good solution for people on modest incomes who can’t buy or rent privately but, at the same time, are unlikely to be awarded priority for social housing. We hope the research will encourage further discussion and debate about the future of mid-market renting in Scotland.”

CIH Scotland policy and practice manager, Ashley Campbell, said: “Used appropriately and in the right locations, mid-market rent can make a positive contribution to the overall housing mix. This research provides a helpful overview of how mid-market rent has developed in Scotland and how it might further develop in the future. It should offer housing professionals a useful insight into general attitudes to mid-market rent and help to stimulate thinking about how best to manage its future development.”

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