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).
It seems to me many “new” housing initiatives are refinements of previous initiatives.
Looking at the Conservative’s latest proposal about shared ownership right to buy, where tenants have the right to purchase a 10% stake, concerns from associations about the impact that might have on their funding ability are well placed, given how funders currently treat shared ownership.
Housing associations are about housing those who are in the most housing need; if, given the stable home housing associations can provide, over time tenants have enough income to raise a mortgage, there are plenty of government initiatives to help them get on the housing ladder.
From my extensive experience of voluntary right to buy (VRTB), for many tenants raising a mortgage is going to be a struggle; so, in practice there are likely to be few takers. And for those who do take up the opportunity, they are likely to be “locked in” to their shared ownership lease, unable to increase their stake.
Given that locking in, assumptions lenders currently make about the numbers of shared owners who will staircase out would need to change, and I would hope with it would be their view on how much could be lent against the property. In a way, this is the creation of a new form of intermediate tenure.
For associations there will also be the challenge of improving the market for shared ownership resales (some might say though, that is long overdue). What would be disappointing is for these new shared owners to find they could only leave their homes by co-ordinating their sale with someone willing to purchase 100% of the property; resulting in a loss of much needed social housing.
If the aim of the policy is for tenants to have access to the wealth creation that traditionally has been home ownership, let’s blow the dust off equity stakes; remember the CIH’s “Homesave”? It isn’t about the mantra of homeownership; it is about sharing wealth creation opportunities with those who now have little chance of doing so.
For more information
Please contact Jonathan Cox.
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.
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.