Northern Ireland has unveiled a radical new type of private rented housing that aims to provide more high quality, affordable homes in the region.
Intermediate rent is not social housing but will offer rents set at a level below the open private rented market, while renters will get longer than average tenancies of up to five years with the option to renew. They will also be promised well-maintained properties and tenancy support services.
The Northern Ireland government's new policy is targeted towards eligible lower to moderate income households who must meet an application threshold; a household's net income must not exceed �30,000 for a single adult household and �40,000 for a two or more adult household.
It will see tenants being offered at least a 20% discount on prevailing market rents for a similar property type and size within a locality, while rents must not be increased before 12 months of a first tenancy have elapsed and not more than once in any 12-month period.
The government expects housing stock for intermediate rent homes to come from new build, renovation of unoccupied properties or conversion of properties currently used for another purpose.
It says planners could require the development of more affordable housing, including intermediate housing for rent, in some new residential developments in line with councils' local development plans.
A spokesperson for the Department for Communities says its policy sets in place another lever to deliver an additional supply of affordable rental homes for low to moderate income households.
He adds: 'It aims to reduce the barriers which some households face in accessing or maintaining a rented home, such as tenancy insecurity, limited support services and, critically, unaffordably high rents.'�