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).
The Government has published its’ response to two consultations on the funding of supported housing, stating that for now, there will be no change to the current systems in place.
Background to consultations
At the end of October 2017, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) (as was) jointly launched two consultations on the funding of supported housing costs for:
- sheltered and extra care accommodation; and
- short-term supported accommodation.
A summary of the proposals set in the consultation papers is set out in our previous e-briefing.
Following the consultation period and having reviewed the significant number of responses received, the Government has published its’ response to the consultations. In summary the Government:
- will not be pursuing the proposed Sheltered Rent model in the upcoming consultation on the Rent Standard Direction;
- will not proceed with the proposed grant model for short-term accommodation; and
- will work with various sector organisations to develop an oversight regime building on the draft National Statement of Expectation published last October.
So essentially there is nothing new for now: supported housing residents will continue to claim Housing Benefit (where eligible).
What does this mean?
The Government’s response will be welcomed by those sector organisations that expressed concerns about the viability of the proposals set out in the consultations. Continued payment through Housing Benefit (or via self-payment where relevant) ensures costs are covered and provides certainty.
However, there is some frustration that, despite the repeated Government statements over numerous years that the current set up is not financially sustainable in the long-term, we are no further forward in identifying a solution.
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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