Backing for faster transfers plan
Government plans to remove some of the financial barriers to stock transfer have been 'unreservedly' welcomed by housing associations.In a consultation document launched last year the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister unveiled a range of proposals designed to make transfers faster and cheaper (Inside Housing, 23 October 2003). They included the proposal that stock transfer business plans should not have to be fully funded on day one.The National Housing Federation and Chartered Institute of Housing both gave their backing to the proposals in their responses to the consultation which closed last week.The NHF's submission said: ‘Overall we are unreservedly supportive of the suggested changes and take the view that they will have an enduring and positive impact on the stock transfer model.'It said the current requirement for the landlord to have a full 30-year funding strategy in place on day one was ‘rigid and potentially expensive' and welcomed the proposed change. ‘This step will provide a catalyst for the development of innovative and more cost-effective funding strategies.'The CIH's submission said that in general it was wholly supportive of the suggested changes and believed that 'they will have a positive role to play in removing some of the unnecessary financially-based barriers to transfer'.It also welcomed the proposed changes to the 30-year funding requirement but warned that the change could lead to tenants being presented with misleading information. The ODPM should be prepared to take action should this be the case, it said.The institute's submission emphasised the importance of flexibility over innovation in private finance and warned ‘innovative methods may be over-complicated and therefore expensive'. And it said there was a ‘widespread need' for more financial training for independent tenant advisers, staff and board members to enable them to secure the best possible funding deals.The consultation document does not include any of the alternative stock transfer funding models proposed in the PSA Plus review last year. The three models were dropped after the review group set up by the ODPM concluded that it would be ‘inappropriate and counter productive' to encourage the private finance market to adopt two of the models and deemed the third model unrealistic."