Today Housing 24 reported our welcome to the ONS decision to return housing associations to the private sector – but they are still not free of government control over rent levels.
This u-turn on the decision to classify housing associations in the public sector will help UK plc by removing £63bn from the national debt – and also free up housing associations to work with their local authority partners and others to build the homes the country needs.
For housing associations it means that they are, in theory, no longer bound by some of the public sector legal constraints that act like a dead weight around their necks.
The move will encourage those in the sector who want housing associations to break completely free from government control.
Unfortunately, housing associations will still be bound by their public sector past. Government will continue to control their rent setting. And (although housing associations no longer need consent to dispose of properties) if they do sell social housing homes, they will have to repay the grant relating to them.
Housing associations will also be bound by other public sector controls, including the obligation to procure goods and services via EU compliant procurement processes, and will continue to have obligations under legislation including the Freedom of Information Act.
Housing associations also need to be aware that section 93 of Housing and Planning Act (2016) affecting social housing is now effective from today (November 16).
The regulations reduce the influence local authorities have over private registered providers of social housing. They restrict the percentage level of officers that a local authority may nominate as board members of a private registered provider and remove a local authority’s ability to hold voting rights as a member of a private registered provider.
This will affect all the stock transfer associations in the country who still have their sponsoring local authorities as members and local authority nominated board members taking up more than 24% of the board.
Such associations now have six months to change their constitutions so that they are in compliance with these regulations, and it is likely that they will need their sponsoring local authorities to vote in favour of these changes at the relevant general meetings.
Bevan Brittan has been awarded a place on the legal panel of housing association Riverside, in an appointment that will take effect from April and run for a minimum of three years.
Bevan Brittan has acted as adviser to Brighton & Hove City Council in a £120 million joint venture (JV) with Hyde Housing to deliver 1,000 affordable new homes in the local area.
Bevan Brittan has advised leisure operator, Places for People Leisure, on its acquisition of three Simply Gyms in Chesterfield, Hinckley and Telford.
The Court of Appeal has upheld the County Court's decision that Southern Housing Group's (Southern) decision to serve a Section 21 Notice and seek a possession order terminating Mr Ahern's starter tenancy was lawful, despite some failures by Southern to comply with its own policies before serving notice.
Bevan Brittan LLP has successfully achieved the requirements for a certified Quality Management System under the new ISO Standard 9001:2015.
HM Court and Tribunal Service have published an updated version of form N5B, the court form used by landlords seeking possession of a property under the accelerated possession scheme.
Housing associations, along with the rest of the housing sector – are looking to next week’s Chancellor’s Budget for bold new initiatives to address the UK’s chronic housing shortage.