Investment in housing: Towards better policies for repairing and improving the housing stock

Philip Leather and Richard Moseley
15th Apr 2002

A review of what measures might encourage all types of owners to invest in the repair and maintenance of their homes.

Homeowners, private landlords and social landlords spend large sums on maintaining and upgrading housing but there is still a backlog of serious disrepair. Investment in housing considers ways of encouraging owners to invest in repair and maintenance in timely and effective ways, thus protecting the national housing stock.

The study reviews current approaches to planning and organising repair work in different tenures. It also looks at possible technical fixes, such as the Open Building approach, but concludes that these make only a limited contribution. The authors suggest that much could be achieved by educating private owners about timely investment in repairs and providing them with technical advice and access to reliable builders. It also highlights the valuable role played by Home Improvement Agencies. In the social rented sector, the study endorses a longer-term business planning approach to investment given the current picture of changing or falling demand for social rented housing.

Given the highly variable nature of performance, the authors also highlight the need for dissemination of best practice.