Working from home is about half as popular by people in social housing as it is generally. The Chartered Institute of Housing has published guidance to help more social housing tenants to take up business ventures.
Some 11 per cent of homeowners work mainly from home, but for social housing tenants the figure can be as low as five per cent. Research has revealed that a factor which contributes to this difference is that about 96 per cent of housing associations require tenants to get written permission to be able to work from home. This leads tenants to believe that permission would be denied.
Of the 200,000 small businesses operating from home only 22,000 of these are in council or housing association properties. This means that only 11 per cent of small businesses in the 1,000 most socially deprived areas operate from home. This compares to 36 per cent in the rest of the country.
Sarah Webb, CIH Chief Executive, said: “Only relatively few social housing tenants engage in home enterprise, possibly through concern that their tenancy agreement would not allow it. In reality there are many types of businesses that tenants could run from home without causing any difficulties.
Our new guidance shows how social landlords can actively promote opportunities for tenants and support them with information, advice and signposting. This is a positive step that could offer employment opportunities to a significant number of people looking for work, particularly tenants who are looking after their family or have a long-term sickness or disability.”
Housing Minister Grant Shapps has urged councils and housing associations to help unlock their tenants’ entrepreneurial talents and allow them to set up businesses from their homes.