Sheffield's urban housing crisis

Buy-to-let is a most insidious feature of Sheffield's urban housing crisis, rendering previously pristine estates into dilapidated and shabby streets of tumbledown housing stock.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 01 February, 2018, 06:07

I recall in my youth immaculate suburbs where once-proud residents maintained their homes – however modest – with a relish which reflected their reverence and dignity of property ownership. Lawns were manicured, driveways were swept and windows polished.

Despite the years when economic recession, industrial strife and high levels of unemployment were predominant, no amount of financial malaise could undermine the effort that went into furbishing and enhancing the impeccable residences of the aspiring working class.

But 21st century acquisitiveness has taken its toll on Sheffield’s neighbourhoods.

Buy-to-let offers the opportunity of property multiple-ownership to landlords for whom the undertaking is nothing more than a financial interaction for commercial gain.

Tenants, meanwhile, having no stake in the property title, view their tenancy as a transient arrangement until the day when they might attain a more permanent foothold on the first rung of the property-ownership ladder.

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It is therefore in the interests of neither to invest in maintenance, renovation or refurbishment of tired and increasingly-ramshackle rented dwellings.

Across the city, once-proud rows of pristine semis now appear worn, decaying and uncared-for. The BBC’s “Homes Under the Hammer” has much to answer for.

Neville Martin

Castledine Gardens, S9