The property industry is overseen by both a housing ombudsman and housing minister but now landlords have a more divine type of scrutiny to contend with.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has appointed a Housing Bishop as the Church of England (CofE) prepares to publish a report next month on the failings of the UK housing market and, in particular, the private rental market.

The new ‘housing bish’ is Guli Francis-Dehqani who is to lead the Church’s efforts to help ‘ease the UK’s crippling housing crisis’.

The NRLA should also expect a call – Welby says Francis-Dehqani will work alongside dioceses and other church bodies as well as strengthening relationships with groups from housing associations to developers and national organisations.

“The aim is to ensure the Church of England can play its part including, wherever possible, using its own land well to help resolve the housing crisis,” he says.

Property portfolio

Welby (picture, below) is referring to the CofE’s £2 billion property portfolio, a significant proportion of which is residential.

The announcement was made during Welby’s interview with the BBC’s Mark Easton during a National Housing Federation online event.

“In April 2019, I set up a Commission to look at what the Church could do to resolve our housing crisis and to strengthen our communities,” he said.

“That Commission will report next month but has already recommended that the Church appoints a Bishop for Housing to ensure that we follow through on its recommendations.”

The CoE is calling for housing to be Safe, Stable, Sustainable, Sociable and Satisfying but in particular Welby want to make tackle evictions but also make homes warm and safe, affordable and big enough for people to live in sociably.


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