Monday 15 April 2024

Council housing – Brent’s clarification on London Living Rent homes at Fulton and Fifth development

 Guest post by Philip Grant in a personal capacity


East elevation drawing and location plan for Fulton and Fifth development.
(From documents in planning application 22/3123)


When I wrote my guest post “Brent’s Council Housing – A Tale of Two Sites” last month, I gave some details of a type of “affordable” housing known as London Living Rent (“LLR”), which the Council will be using for a block of flats it is buying at the Fulton and Fifth development in Wembley Park. 


I used details of this type of tenancy given on the GLA website, that ‘it is designed to help people transition from renting to shared ownership.’ I sent a copy of my article to Cllr. Promise Knight, Brent’s Lead Member for Housing, and asked:


‘IF Brent goes ahead with letting tenancies at Fulton and Fifth as LLR, what length of LLR tenancy does it plan to award? 


What will happen to those LLR tenants when their LLR tenancy comes to an end, if they are unable or unwilling to convert it to a Shared Ownership lease?’


I have now received a reply from Brent to that query, and as it clarifies the position (thankfully, these Council homes will not be converted to Shared Ownership!) I am setting out that response here, so that the correct information is available:-


‘I’m responding to your email below on behalf of Councillor Knight.


Thanks for your questions, your article is based on the assumption the Council is delivering London Living Rent as described by the Greater London Authority.


On 06 February 2023, the Council published a Cabinet report outlining the plans for Fulton and Fifth.


In this report, we state that Local Authorities can request from the GLA to rent the properties in perpetuity. We can confirm that this permission has been sought and granted and so the London Living Rent homes will continue to be rented at London Living Rent levels rather than there being a requirement to convert to Shared Ownership. This means they are effectively Discount Market Rent homes but will use London Living Rent levels to dictate the levels of rent charged.


The Council agrees, social rent and London affordable rent will always be the preference and priority and the scheme includes 176 homes for London Affordable Rent.


Best wishes


Head of Affordable Housing & Partnerships’



Extract from the Report on the Fulton Road development to the 6 February 2023 Cabinet meeting.


Leaving aside the assurance at the end of the reply, that the Council regards Social Rent and London Affordable Rent homes as a ‘preference and priority’, and the claim in the February 2023 Report that the Fulton Road development will benefit meeting ‘current housing demand’ (the homes are expected to be ready by July 2026), 294 new Council homes for rent is to be welcomed. Here is the split of home sizes for the two blocks, and two rent levels:-



Extract from the Report on the Fulton Road development to the 6 February 2023 Cabinet meeting.


It is a pity that more of these homes could not be at the “genuinely affordable” LAR level, but they should, at least, be cheaper to rent than private rents for similarly sized accommodation. I included a chart in my earlier article, showing what the LLR rent levels are for different sized homes in each of the Wards in Brent. 


I will finish by comparing what tenants in each of the two “affordable” housing blocks would be paying in rent, if their tenancy began in April 2024. The figures will be different (higher) by 2026, and they do not include service charges or Council Tax.


In block E, they will be tenants of Brent Council, and 2024/25 LAR rents (converted to monthly figures, but with weekly rent shown in brackets) would be:


1-bedroom  -  £840  (£193.99 pw)
2-bedroom  -  £890  (£205.39 pw)
3-bedroom  -  £940  (£216.80 pw)


In similar sized flats next door in block D, where the tenancies would be from one of Brent Council’s wholly-owned companies (First Wave Housing or i4B Ltd), the 2024 LLR monthly rents would be:


1-bedroom  -  £1,080
2-bedroom  -  £1,200
3-bedroom  -  £1,320


In theory, the LLR homes are for people who have a higher income (household income of up to £60,000 a year), but it would be interesting to know how the Council will decide who gets offered block D, and who is offered block E. It makes quite a big difference!


Philip Grant.


Anonymous said...

To qualify for LLR you need to prove that you would be able to buy a shared ownership property in future. So although these properties will not convert to SO, you will still be assessed for that I.e. can you save enough for a deposit by paying ‘discounted rent’, are you likely to get a mortgage based on your income, credit score etc.

Anonymous said...

Whomever these flats are finally rented to, it will always make a huge difference, as most in Block E will probably be in receipt of some Universal Credit if they are working. If tenants in Block D irrespective of what they earn become unemployed will then be in receipt of Universal Credit and the Housing Benefit/Council Tax Support portion will still be paid by Brent Council out of their budget. Which means affordability by the tenant isn't an issue.

Anonymous said...

Why not buy the blocks and charge Social Rent for all in desperate need of affordable rent?

Anonymous said...

Great idea but who pays for it? Social rented housing requires most subsidy but there is not enough subsidy to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

It’s a good point

Anonymous said...

There is always money available when politicians 'want' to find it.

Look how the Mayor of London found £6.5million to pay for the completely unnecessary rebranding of the London Overground Lines - yet all the toilets (mens, womens and dusabled) at the hugely busy Wembley Central Station on the newly named 'Lionness line' have been closed for months and months 'awaiting repair' with no indication at all of when they will re-open.

Philip Grant said...

Brent is buying the two blocks (on 999 year leases) for £84.6m. At least, that is what Cabinet agreed to do in February 2023 - see paragraph under the unit sizes in the illustration above.

The Council will borrow the money from the government, then lend some of it to its wholly-owned company, to buy block D.

I know that I keep making comparisons with the former Copland School site in Cecil Avenue, but Brent could have gone ahead with that development in 2021, on land it already owned, borrowing the money at much lower interest rates than now, and built all of the homes there for genuinely affordable rents to Council tenants.

That would have provided a similar number of LAR homes to the ones they are now going to buy from a developer at Fulton and Fifth.

Anonymous said...

Hindsight is a great thing

Anonymous said...

This is not hindsight, this is what Brent Council officers and Regeneration team should have been able to predict and plan for.

Anonymous said...

How many people were able to predict how bad things would get following Truss?