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Relax housing rules, says Cameron

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Plans to temporarily relax housing regulations so thousands of empty properties could be used to house people on the social housing waiting list have been unveiled by the Conservatives.

There are almost one million empty properties and, by adjusting the rules, they could be used to home some of the four and half million people waiting for an affordable home, according to Tory leader David Cameron.

Mr Cameron said: "The Conservatives will temporarily relax Labour's stringent rules and regulations making it easier for the affordable housing sector to bring some of the one million empty homes in the UK into use."

The plans would:

  • Allow short term tenancy agreements of, for example, 3 to 5 years

  • Aim to provide tenants with an option to buy or obtain shared equity in the future

  • Partially suspend design and quality standard requirements - for the existing empty homes

  • Remove the requirement for the empty property stock to comply with sustainability codes

Shadow housing minister Grant Shapps said: “With 1.8 million families on the social housing waiting list, 130,000 children homeless and the recession deepening, it's time to bring forward innovative policies that can use the million empty homes across the UK to house those most in need.

“We urge the government to follow our lead and help those families desperate for a home.”

The Conservatives' policy document

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