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Council urges MPs to take action against 'revenge evictions'

21st November 2014

Camden Council is calling on MPs to stop landlords from evicting renters unfairly by voting for the Tenancies (Reform) Bill next week. The Bill has come about in response to the more than 200,000 renters who were evicted or served notice in the last year after reporting poor property conditions to their landlord. If passed, the Bill will prevent landlords from serving an eviction notice on their tenants for six months if councils find their property’s living conditions need improving. The ...

Council to fill housing void left by right to buy sales

21st November 2014

A council that has lost nearly 200 of its homes to the controversial right to buy (RTB) policy in the last two years has announced plans for a large housebuilding programme to fill the void. Since 2012, when the Tory-led coalition massively increased the discounts available for tenants that want to buy their social homes, Stevenage Borough council has seen 185 of its properties lost to RTB sales. Reacting to the loss the council this week laid out plans to build 1,900 new homes, around 550 of th...

Almost entire country clueless about government's rental redress schemes

21st November 2014

Only 0.5% of us are aware of the three redress schemes the government brought in last month to protect the UK's 3.9 million renters. A survey by sales and lettings firm KIS found that 99.5% of people hadn't heard of the letting agent redress schemes, which are designed to hold lettings agents who give tenants and leaseholders a poor deal to account. Since the start of October, letting agents have been required to sign up to one of the three government-approved schemes designed to give renters ...

Opinion: Managing right to buy

20th November 2014

By Jonathan Lawn, head of communications, Phoenix Community Housing “SOLD this wk under #righttobuy, 1-bed flat BR1, rent was £89, 15 years tenancy, valued £146k, discount £102.7k, sold £43.3k #rtbdebate” Since October we’ve been weeting these details of every RTB sale of our homes. Using the hashtag #rtbdebate, we’re asking one simple question: Can we hope to replace homes sold through RTB with new social housing, on a one-to-one basis? We thin...

Bedroom tax facing High Court battle over panic rooms

19th November 2014

Lawyers will today argue that the government's controversial bedroom tax should not apply to 'spare rooms' that have been turned into panic rooms. The High Court will hear a judicial review challenge from a woman and her son who have been hit by the under occupancy policy even though the so-called 'spare room' in their three-bed social home has become a safe refuge to protect in the event of an attack by an violent ex-partner. Department for Work and Pensions boss Iain Duncan Smith claims that the ...

Opinion: Exchange Policy- How can I get my money back?

17th November 2014

The prolific Rob Gershon explores how the Policy Exchange report on the dubiously titled 'Free Housing Associations' could be improved still further to provide even more remarkable and exciting ways of providing the homes we need.  The recent report from think tank Policy Exchange reflects the desires of 15 London housing associations to free themselves from the shackles of government regulation and the inconvenience of tenants as they seek to found a future where they can build dozens of n...

Tenant co-operative fails HCA's governance and financial standards

13th November 2014

A North London tenant co-operative has failed to meet the Home and Communities Agency's governance and financial viability standards. Though Quadrant-Brownswood Tenant Co-operative (QBTC) only owns 141 general needs units and thus falls short of the HCA's 1,000-unit threshold for a regulatory judgement, it was the subject of a regulatory notice in May which concluded the provider had failed to meet the requirements of the Governance and Financial Viability Standard. The HCA has ruled that under...

Think tank uses #HousingDay to call for radical housing association shakeup

12th November 2014

Housing associations should be freed of “unnecessary red tape” and given the freedom to borrow funds, set rents and select their own tenants, a leading right-wing think tank has said. Policy Exchange (PE), the Tory-led government’s favourite think tank, believes such measures would allow the country’s HAs to build 100,000 homes a year. PE’s report argues that HAs are bound by “multiple rules and regulations which prevent them from choosing their own social tenan...

Over half of London office-to-residential conversion plans given green light

11th November 2014

London's local authorities gave the green-light for over 50% of applications to turn office blocks into homes in the three months to June 2014, according to new research. Property consultancy Daniel Watney found that 457 prior approval applications were made across the capital in the period, of which 56% were granted, 25% were refused and 19% were deemed not to need prior approval. The government made changes to permitted development rights in May 2013 that allowed developers to convert offices ...

End of the payday lenders? 'Legal loan sharks' hit with cap

11th November 2014

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced a cap on the amount that payday lenders can charge their customers. From January, payday loans will be capped at 0.8% by law - and no borrower will ever have to pay back more than double the amount they have borrowed. And default charges for things such as late payments will be capped at £15. Some payday lenders - which campaigning Labour MP Stella Creasy has described as "legal loan sharks" - currently charge customers over 4,000% APR on thei...