THE Liberal Vannin Party is launching a campaign to make housing more accessible, affordable and sustainable.
The party believes four new measures would go a long way in ‘correcting the imbalance in the residential and rental housing market’.
It wants to see a part equity mortgage scheme, initially for social housing tenants whose income has risen to a level where they can afford the mortgage repayments but have insufficient working years left to be eligible for a standard mortgage.
Tenants could apply for the lesser of 50 per cent of the value of the property they wished to buy or £100,000.
Government would then be a co-owner of the property and a house would be vacated for someone on the social housing waiting list.
A Liberal Vannin spokesman said: ‘With social houses costing an average of over £160,000 without the cost of the land, this is a very cost effective way of reducing waiting lists for housing and encouraging a property owning democracy.’
The second policy is the creation of a new sector in the housing market, the protected sector.
Special planning conditions would form part of the planning process and would apply to all new first-time buyer properties built with government funding and in other circumstances where the planning committee felt it appropriate.
The spokesman said: ‘These conditions would ensure that the purchaser had the necessary residential qualifications.
‘In addition, there would be restrictions on the property whereby it could only be sold to another buyer with the same residential qualifications, it had to be owner occupied and could not be rented to a third party and it could not be owned by someone who already owned a residential property in the Isle of Man.’
The third policy would raise money to fund the part equity mortgage and protected sector schemes.
It would enable the release of parcels of land across the island to be used for the construction of large houses through a process of a planning order for the whole island which would be ‘open, transparent and accessible to all land owners’.
If successful, the uplift in the value of the land would be shared with government.
The party spokesman said: ‘This will stimulate the construction industry – now more than 70 per cent dependent on the public purse – and provide accommodation of the standard required to attract the high net worth individuals that the Council of Ministers wishes to encourage.’
Finally, the party would like to see the introduction of a landlords’ registration scheme requiring private rental accommodation to meet approved standards.
Only registered landlords would then be considered eligible for any government grant/benefit support.
The party believes it would improve the standards in the private rental sector and prevent any unregistered landlord benefiting from housing benefit paid to those who are unemployed or on low incomes.
Liberal Vannin has three members in the House of Keys, Onchan MHK Peter Karran, who is also Education and Children Minister, his constituency colleague Zac Hall and Douglas South MHK Kate Beecroft.