The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
Under the changes the DWP is allowed to share the following information with social landlords (not private landlords) about welfare-supported tenants, and landlords are required to receive and hold the information:
- when the tenant claimed for/ was awarded universal credit
- when the next payment of universal credit is due
- whether the next payment is the first payment
- the amount of the housing element in the next payment.
The information can be used only for: (1) providing advice, assistance or support to a universal credit claimant, and (2) monitoring and evaluating this.
This represents extra work and extra cost and is in that sense unwelcome. However, the information will give landlords better visibility of welfare-supported tenants’ rental income. The changes also allow the DWP to provide data to key partners - local authorities (who were already “in the circle”) plus CABx, credit unions and charities - for the same purposes.
It’s surprising that the Government did not build this information sharing into universal credit in the first place. However, in dealing with the issue the DWP has practised good data security. Landlords take note, in fact: we all need to apply the same discipline in keeping personal data private. Most organisations need to make up ground in terms of working practices and many in their procedures too.
The new law is silent about whether landlords can share the information with others. How are you going to play that one, then?
For more information
Contact Gemma Bell.
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
Not only has the possession stay been extended until 20 September, the notice periods to be given to tenants has been extended in certain circumstances with some important exceptions.
The Court has confirmed that a party cannot withhold its consent in order to re-write the original bargain.
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, building safety continues to be a key concern for social housing providers and their residents.
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