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New letting agent redress schemes slammed as 'vague and bureaucratic'

30th September 2014

A set of new government redress schemes aimed at policing lettings agents have been slammed as "vague and bureaucratic" on the eve of their implementation. From tomorrow, letting agents will be legally required to sign up to one of three redress schemes that the government insists will "ensure tenants have a straightforward option to hold their agents to account". The redress schemes have been introduced in an attempt to stop letting agents charging excessive fees and employing misleading adver...

New director for ALMO's board

30th September 2014

Nottinghamshire ALMO Newark and Sherwood Homes (NSH) has appointed a new director of its board. Mick Frettsome had to step down from NSH's tenants’ panel to take up the role. Mr Frettsome used to run an electrical contracting business specialising in the social housing sector, and brings over 30 years’ maintenance and repairs experience to the position. He said: “I have been a tenant for the past seven years and wanted to be able to bring my experience in managing electrical ...

Tenants warned about housing association loft impersonators

30th September 2014

Chorley Community Housing (CCH) is warning its tenants to check the credentials of people claiming to be working for the organisations, after a spate of reports concerning bogus callers. The men, who appear to be working as a pair, are thought to be taking personal items from people’s lofts after claiming to be checking for inadequate insulation at homes in Adlington. CCH's director of operations, Richard Houghton, said: "We have had two incidents in Adlington recently where men claiming to ...

Council's growth plan includes 600 new homes

30th September 2014

A London council has approved a growth plan that includes bringing 600 new homes to the borough. Approved by Croydon Council's cabinet last night, the plan outlines proposals to capitalise on the economic recovery over the next five years to "ensure growth for all", and includes commitments to creating jobs and transforming district centres. The plan details how growth in the borough will be financed with the creation of a revolving investment fund, the first of its kind, the council says. A number ...

New social housing schemes open in former 'flashpoint' Belfast area

30th September 2014

Two social housing developments have opened in a North Belfast area once regarded as a 'flashpoint' during The Troubles. More than 70 new homes in The Glen and Parkside schemes on Limestone Road have been handed over to tenants, as the schemes were officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Nicola Mallon. Totalling £9.2 million to develop, the schemes will underpin economic and community regeneration in North Belfast, social landlord Newington Housing Association (NHA) said today. Fun...

Welsh social landlord invests £thousands into schools

30th September 2014

A Welsh social landlord is to invest £9,000 in two schools. NPT Homes says it received a "wide range of high quality applications" in response to its community development fund, a new initiative to help people in the Neath Port Talbot area to improve their environment, neighbourhood or community through the funding of specific projects. After receiving 25 applications, NPT's £25,900 fund has been split between seven successful applicants, including two schools in Port Talbot - Dyffryn...

Housing benefit crook jailed after £55,000 swindle

30th September 2014

A petrol station attendant has been jailed for swindling £55,000 in housing benefit (HB). Crooked Abdul Murshid was given an 11-week sentence after Willesden Magistrates' Court heard he claimed £900 per month in HB from Harrow Council - but the rent at his part-ownership property only amounted to £200. The court heard that the married father of-four used the extra £700 to spend on his family in a fraud that went on for over six years. Murshid, who worked at the Welcome B...

Government to speed up universal credit roll out

30th September 2014

The government has announced that the roll out of its troubled universal credit (UC) programme is to be accelerated. Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said that the coalition's flagship reform of the benefits system will be running in all of the country's jobcentres from early next year. IDS claimed that the "significant acceleration" was a "sign of the success of the policy so far". Next year's speeded up roll out will cover new claims from single jobseekers. UC, which brings together six bene...

Council: Pickles' plans will leave us at mercy of luxury housing developers

30th September 2014

A London borough has warned of dire consequences if a change in planning regulations lead by Secretary of State Eric Pickles is granted. Hackney Council says Pickles' proposals threaten its "fragile creative commercial districts, leading to a free-for-all for luxury housing developers and the loss of up to 40,000 jobs". The council is now calling on over 3,000 local business leaders to get behind a new petition, launched this week, to fight the Department for Communities and Local Government's pla...

Third of UK's would-be movers put off by cost

30th September 2014

A third of Britons who would like to move have abandoned the idea because of the expense, a poll has found. The survey found that the cost of moving was the biggest factor in making people cancel their moving plans, closely followed by the 'lack of desirable houses'. The poll quizzed nearly 2,000 homeowners from around the UK who had considered moving in the last year but who were yet to do so. Over a third said that they had decided to stay put in the end. The most off-putting factors about moving ho...