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CHS Group provide housing, care and community services in Cambridgeshire.  With a historically strong ethos of proving affordable quality housing for households on low incomes, CHS Group is committed to social rents and to the allocation of property to those in housing need.

In recent years, changes to government policy have resulted in a sharp reduction in the supply of new homes at social (‘formula’) rents.  As the government intends to consult on the nature of the direction to be issued to the Social Housing Regulator on rent policy beyond 2020, CHS Group and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have commissioned the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research (CCHPR) to explore how the CHS Group can set rents that are genuinely affordable for its clients.

This research will inform CHS’s policy on rent setting beyond 2020 and, at this opportune time, provide an opportunity to influence sector thinking and relevant government policy. The project and will use statistical modelling, developed in house, to model tenants’ incomes in order to estimate the impact of current rents and benefits on affordability for CHS tenants and to develop a range of potential rent setting options for discussion and, where appropriate, further detailed analysis and viability.

Setting clear objectives and working within the context of CHS Group’s ethos and aspirations, CCHPR’s research team will identify those changes which are possible within the current regulatory system and those which would require changes in policy or regulation. This will enable CHS Group to present coherent arguments for change where necessary and thus contribute to the policy debate about the future of rent policy in social housing and the affordability of rents to tenants.

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