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Not too cosy: £3,000 fine for housebuilder that ignored stop notice

28th August 2014

A housebuilder that ignored a stop notice issued by Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) has been fined £3,000. Cosy Homes (York) is currently constructing a detached house at its New Forge development site in Great Ouseburn, for which permission was granted in August 2013. However, the plans were subject to a number of conditions including one which required that the council receive a report on land contamination before the development started. In May 2014, HBC received complaints that the hou...

HCA restores social landlord's top governance rating

28th August 2014

The Homes and Communities Agency has restored a social landlord's governance rating to the top notch after the registered provider heeded the regulator's recommendations. In February, the HCA downgraded Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association's (ISHA) governance rating from G1 to G2 over concerns about value for money. The downgrade followed new rules that demanded a transparent, accessible and robust self-assessment on value for money must be published within six months of the close of the...

Social housing sector is 'financially stable' says HCA, as money pours in from capital markets

20th August 2014

The Homes and Communities Agency has said that the social housing sector "continues to demonstrate financial stability and has access to sufficient finance". The HCA's latest quarterly survey (2014/15 Quarter 1) reveals that the sector is overall in a "strong position in relation to its future financing needs" with £13 billion in undrawn borrowing facilities and £4bn held in cash. The HCA's latest report is based on a survey of all private registered providers owning and/or managing ...

Pickles vows council repairs cap after 93-year-old 'dies of shame'

14th August 2014

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has vowed to introduce a cap on the amount councils can charge for repairs after a 93-year-old tenant "died of shame" when she was landed with a £50,000 bill. Newham Council presented elderly Florence Bourne with the hefty charge for repairs to her roof. However, it later transpired that not only did the bungling council fail to conduct a proper survey on Mrs Bourne's property, basing the massive fee on a guess, it turned out the work was completely unnec...

Exclusive: Lib Dem president calls for ministerial housing taskforce

14th August 2014

Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron has said that a new ministerial taskforce is urgently needed to oversee a “long-term strategy” for the housing sector. Writing in the forthcoming September issue of 24housing magazine, the MP says that a “new consensus” is needed to broach the housing crisis, and that government must agree that “housing cannot continue to be side-lined or lost between at least three different government departments”. In his article, Mr Farr...

Major study to recommend further benefit cuts and child support cap

13th August 2014

A major study is due to recommend that the government slashes the benefit budget even further and caps child support at four children. Set for publication in two weeks' time, think tank Policy Exchange believes a future government should apply another 10% reduction to the current benefit cap of £26,000. By lowering the cap to £23,400, a future government would save an extra £100 million a year. However, the think tank believes the 10% reduction should be applied to London or...

Is right to buy the Tories’ stupidest policy?

12th August 2014

By 24dash reporter Max Salsbury Over in Harrow, something deeply stupid is happening. The council is leasing back 35 properties it used to own until they were sold off under the right to buy (RTB) scheme. This preposterous situation is costing the council just under £500, 000 a year, over £14,000 per property. How did it come to this? Well, as we all know, economic genius Margaret Thatcher thought it’d be a great idea to offer social housing tenants the chance to own their ...

PRS landlords warned to remember tenant obligations

11th August 2014

An organisation that represents landlords in the private rented sector has warned property owners to remember their obligations to their tenants. Recent research by the National Landlords Association's (NLA) found that the proportion of part-time or ‘amateur’ landlords is now at its highest ever level, comprising 70% of the sector. With this in mind, the NLA is reminding all landlords of their obligations toward their tenants and the importance of ensuring that good standards within...

Lack of funding threatening Care Act, councils warn

11th August 2014

Nine out of 10 local authorities are warning that a lack of adequate government funding could jeopardise the Tory-led coalition's reforms of the adult social care system, which are due to start in less than eight months' time. The reforms are designed to put people and their carers in better control of their own care and limit the amount that people will pay towards the support that they need. However, a survey of 152 councils with responsibility for adult social care found that 134 local author...

Opinion: Why section 106s are essential

8th August 2014

The news that companies are now offering builders a bespoke service to avoid their section 106 obligations is not a surprise, but it is deeply depressing, writes Alan Fraser, chief executive of Birmingham YMCA. Section 106 of the Town & Country Planning Act (1990) places obligations on private housebuilders to contribute a broader social benefit when they develop new schemes.  This is a progressive initiative because it recognises that in building housing, there are other facilities th...