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Top governance rating restored to Network Housing Group

29th July 2015

Network Housing Group, one of London’s largest housing associations, has regained its G1 rating following an assessment by the housing regulator, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The HCA oversees the work of housing associations to make sure they are governed properly, rating them G1 to G4. Last year Network Housing Group was downgraded from G1 to G2 as a result of errors in the rent setting procedures. Today’s upgrade now means that Network Housing Group holds the ...

Opinion: zero carbon homes - the next four years

21st July 2015

Tom Jarman, environmental sustainability coordinator at SHIFT landlord Your Homes Newcastle, on why it isn’t necessarily curtains for zero carbon homes: So the kybosh has finally applied to aspirations for zero carbon new build in 2016. To some this won’t have come as a great surprise from a government which has never been seen as entirely convinced, and whose commitment to zero carbon new build has been inconsistent at best. However, there is hope. In 2020, the EU nearly Zero Carbon Bui...

Sheffield uses new legislation to protect both landlords and tenants

20th July 2015

Sheffield City Council is believed to be the first authority outside London to use new legislation designed to boost the rights of millions of people living in rented accommodation. In the last six weeks it has fined 11 letting agents a total of £37,000 for failing to comply with legislation introduced last October. Under the new laws, letting and property management agents need to register with one of three redress schemes, which were set up to resolve problems between tenants and letting agen...

Croydon landlords sign up for licensing scheme discount

14th July 2015

Landlords in Croydon are being offered an incentive to save hundreds of pounds by signing up early to the council’s selective licensing scheme. There are around 30,000 private rented properties in the borough, and the council is introducing the scheme to raise housing standards and tackle dodgy landlords who undercut their competitors on quality and price. All applicants must prove they are fit and proper – and from October any Croydon private landlord who does not have a licence f...

BPF: Government delivers on game-changing planning reforms

10th July 2015

The British Property Federation (BPF) has praised the government for the raft of planning reforms announced in the Treasury’s Productivity Plan that ‘hit the nail on the head’ and have the potential to be an enormous boon to housing supply. It has warned, however, that some of the new measures will only work if the government addresses the severe shortage of funds within local authority planning departments.  It also outlined concerns that with its focus on Right to Buy ...

HCA says sector in 'strong financial position' but warns of surplus cash risk

1st July 2015

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) says the social housing sector “remains in a strong financial position”, according to its latest quarterly survey out today, while warning against the "risks and costs of holding surplus cash". The survey says "the sector remains attractive to lenders, with significant amounts of cash available to registered providers to cover their development and operating costs". The 2014-15 Q4 survey (January to March) says the sector has “access to sufficient fi...

Five year licence required for HMOs in Camden

22nd June 2015

Camden Council is introducing new licensing conditions for landlords of shared accommodation. It will mean that landlords who rent out a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) must apply for a five-year licence.  A licence will only be granted if a minimum set of standards for the property are met. The scheme will tackle a range of health and safety issues, such as fire hazards, risk of falls, poor home security and excess cold – which is known to cause mould and damp. With a third of Camden house...

Council uses new anti-social behaviour power to close down cannabis factory

16th June 2015

Southwark Council and the police have used new anti-social behaviour powers to repossess a council flat that was being used as a cannabis factory. Earlier this year, the culprit was sentenced to nine months imprisonment for drug offences carried out at the property. The council applied for a mandatory eviction notice using new powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act, which came into force in October 2014. The new legislation allows local councils to seek immediate possession ...

'Unscrupulous' landlord fined £11,000

2nd June 2015

A landlord has been hit with an £11,000 fine after putting his tenants' lives at risk. According to the London Borough of Hillingdon Council, Javeed Hossain crammed too many tenants into his rental property in Harlington and failed to install correct fire safety measures. Hossain, of  Rydal Crescent, Perivale, is the landlord of 26 New Road, Harlington, a three-storey property operating as a house of multiple occupation (HMO). Following the council investigation into overcrowding, and ...

Private landlords irate after Citizens Advice says 740,000 homes 'severe threat' to health

21st May 2015

Private landlord groups have hit back at a major Citizens Advice study which showed that “740,000 households in England live in privately rented homes that present a severe threat to tenants' health” and called for the government to target "dodgy landlords". Reacting angrily to the report, the National Landlords Association issued a press release under the heading 'Lies, lies and damned statistics'. 'A Nation of Renters', which was based on research by the UK think tank New Policy ...