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Spending Review: nothing unexpected (but still unanswered questions)

27th November 2015

Housing formed a key part of George Osbourne’s Autumn Statement. Croftons’ Head of Governance, Jo Savage, picks out some of the key points affecting the sector, and poses one or two questions that still need to be answered. London Help to BuyLondon will give buyers 40% of the home value from early 2016, as opposed to 20%, as the current scheme offers. This is an equity loan and isn’t really anything new. Equity loans have come and gone, and been in and out of fashion over the las...

Council welcomes government position over 'paying too much' for land

23rd November 2015

Islington Council has welcomed confirmation from the government that the value of land should reflect planning requirements. It comes amid growing concern that developers and landowners are manipulating the development viability process to build fewer affordable homes. Islington and other councils have seen that developers sometimes disregard planning policies about building affordable homes when bidding for land. They later claim they cannot af...

The Benefits of Positive Requirements

19th November 2015

Positive Requirements are an important part of the new legal armoury RPs use to tackle anti-social behaviour, and they’re working, bringing benefits to communities and the perpetrators of ASB – that was the assessment given by Croftons’ Associate Solicitor Kirsty Varley, speaking at the Resolve ASB National Conference earlier this month. A key workshop delivered by Kirsty focused on the civil injunction which came into force in March this year, assessing in particular the effec...

Genesis appoints Head of Safeguarding

19th November 2015

Genesis Housing Association has appointed Hannah Boyd in the newly created post of Head of Safeguarding. Hannah has over seven years’ experience in the housing sector, working in private practice and in-house, with a focus on safeguarding, risk and tenancy management. Hilary Milne, Director of Governance and Compliance, said: “Following the Care Act 2014, the role in which Housing Associations play in safeguarding their customers and communities is greater than ever.  Genesis is commit...

Croftons' View on RP Reclassification

18th November 2015

Why has this happened? The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 gave the HCA certain powers, in particular consent powers over disposals of social housing (which has always been the case, one way or another) and power to appoint managers (rarely used) in the event that an RP finds itself in difficulties. Coupled with this, decisions in recent years have been made that effectively class RPs as public bodies for the purposes of procurement and judicial review. Despite the fact that these matters are not new,...

Rogue landlords hit with heavy fines

17th November 2015

Two rogue landlords have been hit with heavy fines for serious breaches of housing and planning laws reports Chris Smith. Two councils in London have concluded prosecutions for multiple breaches of regulations that resulted in fines totaling £270,000. Harrow Crown Court ordered a previously-convicted property owner, Vijay Kara of Hendon, to pay over £200,000 for illegally converting two properties in Brent into flats without planning permission, and ignoring enforcement notices that...

Resident evicted from ‘cuckoo’ house

16th November 2015

To combat the growing trend of ‘cuckooing’, Essex housing association, CHP, recently evicted a resident who had permitted a dealer to run a drugs operation from their property. Drug dealers are increasingly targeting users throughout the county and are taking over a resident’s property to sell illegal substances. The practice - referred to as ‘cuckooing’ - is named after the similarities with how a dealer will gain entry and occupy the home of a resident, much like...

Is it time you gave your tenants a ‘nudge’?

5th November 2015

Behavioural psychology probably isn’t the first thing housing management teams think of when tackling the perennial problems of rent arrears and anti-social behaviour, but ‘nudging’ could be the key to engaging with difficult tenants and reducing legal costs, writes Melanie Dirom, Partner and Head of Housing Management at Croftons Solicitors LLP. The idea stems from the government’s Behavioural Insights Team - dubbed the “nudge unit” – that was set up by...

Private Tenancies Bill ‘to help combat anti-social behaviour’

4th November 2015

Scottish Housing Minister Margaret Burgess today reaffirmed that anti-social behaviour is grounds for eviction under the new Private Tenancies Bill. During a Q&A with Scottish landlords to mark National Landlords Day, Margaret Burgess said the Private Tenancies Bill will enable landlords to manage their property and deal with anti-social behaviour. Mrs Burgess said: “Anti-social behaviour is unacceptable, which is why this Bill outlines clearly that it is grounds for eviction. &ldqu...

Fire doors are critical in saving lives and protecting property in social housing

4th November 2015

By Richard Egle, DipFD, Project Officer at Saffron Housing. Saffron Housing has more than 5,500 properties across East Anglia and is currently building a further 400 to 500 new homes annually. We are a significant and rapidly growing social housing provider that puts the safety of its tenants and staff at the forefront of everything it does. While I have worked in various roles where fire doors were part of my remit, I had not had any formal training. So when I was told about the Fire Door Insp...