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).
There is a change of language from Target Rent to Formula Rents and confirmation:-
- that Formula Rents are to increase annually by the increase in CPI of the preceding September; and
- the end of convergence (unless a waiver is obtained).
The Regulator will only consider issuing a waiver if the inability to continue to converge means that a RP is unable to meet other standards, particularly in respect of financial viability.
These positions will, as we mentioned in our January 2014 Thoughtpiece, cause pressure on some RPs so it is worth reminding providers of where income can be increased. These are:-
- RPs can charge Formula Rents on re-letting
- Where major improvements have been undertaken RPs can have the 30% market value element of the Formula Rent reviewed with a view to charging that revised Formula Rent on re-letting.
Perhaps most significant for the sector in the long-term is the confirmation of “pay to stay”. Properties with tenants and their partners falling into the group known as “Higher Income Social Tenants” or “HISTs” fall out of the Rent Standard, leaving RPs to charge what they wish, but taking into account market forces, the provisions of their tenancy agreements and their governing instruments.
HISTs are tenants, their partners/spouses whose combined household income (no reductions) is more than £60,000 in the relevant tax period. Where several people live in a property the highest two incomes should be taken into account. The period is the full preceding tax year in the year before the Rent Standard. The HCA gives an example that the income received in the 2013/14 tax year would guide the rent payable for the 2015/16 tax year. However, if a HIST household is then subject to a certain and ongoing loss of income, RPs are expected to look again at the rent level. Identification of HISTs, working out what to charge and when that charge needs to be reduced, are certain to occupy RPs over the next few months.
For more information
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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