News

All the latest breaking stories from the affordable housing sector.

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Universal credit

Universal Credit tenants in arrears increases to 86%

16/01/2017 0:01 am | By Sophie Barnes

The percentage of council tenants on Universal Credit in rent arrears has increased to a “critically high” 86% over the past year, sparking “extreme concern” among councils.

The Supreme Court final court of appeal in Parliament Square London

Government yet to introduce bedroom tax exemption despite court ruling

16/01/2017 10:12 am | By Sophie Barnes

The government is yet to exempt certain people with a disability from the bedroom tax despite a Supreme Court ruling two months ago.

repairs

Ombudsman relationship with regulator in spotlight after Circle issues

16/01/2017 10:07 am | By Pete Apps

Gavin Barwell has committed to reviewing the relationship between the housing regulator and the ombudsman, in the aftermath of a flurry of problems at a new build development.

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NI housing associations call for bedroom tax certainty

13/01/2017 5:13 pm | By Sophie Barnes

Housing associations in Northern Ireland have called on the government to honour its pledge to mitigate the effects of the bedroom tax, despite the political turmoil in the country.

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District councils 'to lose £75m' with New Homes Bonus reforms

13/01/2017 3:43 pm | By Nick Johnstone

The planned introduction of a housing growth baseline for the New Homes Bonus has been slammed by councils that believe they could lose £75m.

Scottish parliament

Universal Credit to be paid more regularly in Scotland

13/01/2017 3:12 pm | By Sophie Barnes

The Scottish Government plans to use its new social security powers for the first time to make Universal Credit payments more regular, it has announced today.

Islington town hall resized

Islington sets aside £40m for council housing

13/01/2017 8:57 am | By Nick Johnstone

Islington Council has published its 2017/18 budget, which includes £40m for the building of new council housing in the borough.

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Supported housing demand trumps LHA cap fears

13/01/2017 7:30 am | By Sophie Barnes

Providers will build supported housing despite the uncertainty surrounding the Local Housing Allowance cap because of overwhelming demand for the specialist accommodation.

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Starter Homes changes expected as White Paper draws closer

13/01/2017 7:30 am | By News team

Sector figures are expecting key changes to the Starter Homes policy as the publication of the long-awaited Housing White Paper draws closer.  

Stock pic

Full implementation dates for Housing Act policies revealed

12/01/2017 4:28 pm | By Pete Apps

Regulations introducing Starter Homes are due to come into force in the summer, a timetable obtained by Inside Housing reveals.

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Development

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District councils 'to lose £75m' with New Homes Bonus reforms

13/01/2017 | By Nick Johnstone

The planned introduction of a housing growth baseline for the New Homes Bonus has been slammed by councils that believe they could lose £75m.

Islington town hall resized

Islington sets aside £40m for council housing

13/01/2017 | By Nick Johnstone

Islington Council has published its 2017/18 budget, which includes £40m for the building of new council housing in the borough.

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Starter Homes changes expected as White Paper draws closer

13/01/2017 | By News team

Sector figures are expecting key changes to the Starter Homes policy as the publication of the long-awaited Housing White Paper draws closer.  

Stock pic

Full implementation dates for Housing Act policies revealed

12/01/2017 | By Pete Apps

Regulations introducing Starter Homes are due to come into force in the summer, a timetable obtained by Inside Housing reveals.

Hackney Council

£200m Nightingale Estate regeneration approved

12/01/2017 | By Nick Johnstone

Plans for 400 new homes in Clapton, London, have been approved by councillors at Hackney Council.

Westminster Parliament government

New construction minister announced

11/01/2017 | By Sophie Barnes

The government has appointed a construction minister whose brief will include infrastructure issues.

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Fifty-eight per cent of councillors expect to build on green belt

11/01/2017 | By Nick Johnstone

Fifty-eight per cent of councillors have said they expect to allocate green belt land for new housing over the next five years, according to a survey.

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5.5% growth in 'public housing' development

11/01/2017 | By Nick Johnstone

Construction of new housing developments increased by 1.2% in November compared with the previous month, underpinned by a 5.5% growth in housing association development, according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

Sadiq Khan Call-in

Sadiq Khan calls in two housing schemes

10/01/2017 | By Nick Johnstone

The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has taken control of two planning applications containing a total of around 700 homes – in his first planning ‘call-in’ since being elected.

Stock pic

Bovis chief executive steps down

10/01/2017 | By Pete Apps

The chief executive of house builder Bovis has stepped down following a profit warning before Christmas.

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Repairs

repairs

Ombudsman relationship with regulator in spotlight after Circle issues

16/01/2017 | By Pete Apps

Gavin Barwell has committed to reviewing the relationship between the housing regulator and the ombudsman, in the aftermath of a flurry of problems at a new build development.

repairs

Leaked letter reveals Circle repairs overhaul could run until September

12/01/2017 | By Pete Apps

Overhauling the long-standing repairs issues affecting former Circle Housing stock could take until September, a leaked letter has revealed.

repairs

Sovereign brings maintenance of 2,000 homes in-house

06/01/2017 | By Nick Johnstone

Sovereign is to double the number of homes in Devon that it maintains through its property management subsidiary, meaning its entire 55,000 portfolio will now be under its own management.

Spanners

Scottish tenants and associations say charter has improved landlord services

17/11/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

A majority of tenants and housing associations to respond to a consultation believe the quality of social landlord services has improved since the Scottish Government introduced a social housing charter.

Repairs maintenance contractor

'Community-controlled associations outperform larger counterparts'

16/11/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

Landlord services provided by community-controlled housing associations outperform those of other social landlords in Scotland, a report has suggested.

Beds in sheds

Shelter launches 'Living Home Standard'

17/10/2016 | By Heather Spurr

A homelessness charity has launched a ‘Living Home Standard’ to measure the acceptability of housing across all tenures.

Stock pic of cranes

Kier reports increased profit and turnover

22/09/2016 | By Carl Brown

Contractor Kier Group has reported increased profit and turnover in its residential business, saying the Brexit referendum result has had “no material impact” on its operations.

Spanners

HCA to probe associations' repairs cuts

21/09/2016 | By Carl Brown

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) will examine English housing associations’ business plans to check that significant cuts to repairs spending are not a sign of a “failure to maintain stock”.

Spanners

Wates lands 13,900-home repairs contract

08/09/2016 | By Carl Brown

Wates Living Space Maintenance has been awarded a £24m repairs contract by London-based housing association Network Homes.

Shepherd's Bush fire

Tower block blaze 'caused by faulty dryer'

30/08/2016

A huge blaze that ripped through five floors of a council-owned tower block was caused by a faulty tumble dryer, the London Fire Brigade has confirmed.

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Tenancies

Scottish parliament

Universal Credit to be paid more regularly in Scotland

13/01/2017 | By Sophie Barnes

The Scottish Government plans to use its new social security powers for the first time to make Universal Credit payments more regular, it has announced today.

social tenancy new

Government reveals councils on fixed-term tenancies working group

12/01/2017 | By Sophie Barnes

The government has revealed the names of the 20 councils it is working with to look at how to implement fixed-term tenancies.

repairs

Leaked letter reveals Circle repairs overhaul could run until September

12/01/2017 | By Pete Apps

Overhauling the long-standing repairs issues affecting former Circle Housing stock could take until September, a leaked letter has revealed.

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RTB pilots: one in four express interest but sales limited

11/01/2017 | By Pete Apps

A quarter of eligible tenants expressed an interest in buying their homes under the Right to Buy extension pilot, but affordability acted as a major drag on actual sales.

Shared ownership keys house buy

Association tenants exposed to 'significant financial risk' under RTB

11/01/2017 | By Pete Apps

Housing association tenants are taking on huge financial risk to buy homes through the extended Right to Buy, with high street banks offering mortgages of more than five times their income.

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Council prosecuted by fire service over Lakanal House blaze

04/01/2017 | By Sophie Barnes

Southwark Council is facing prosecution for breaching fire safety regulations following the deaths of six people in the Lakanal House fire.

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Sheltered accommodation provider warned over quality concerns

22/12/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

A sheltered accommodation provider has been issued a regulatory notice for failing to meet the Decent Homes Standard and “significant” repairs and maintenance issues.

Shared ownership keys house buy

LGA: social housing drop prevents young buying

22/12/2016 | By Luke Barratt

A huge drop in social housing building means homeownership rates among 25-year-olds are less than half what they were 20 years ago, council leaders warned today.

Troubled families

‘No evidence’ government programme helped troubled families

20/12/2016 | By Luke Barratt

Government claims that it has “turned around” 120,000 troubled families were “misleading”, and there is no evidence the programme created for this purpose has had any significant impact, MPs have said.

Overdue document

Universal Credit arrears soar in Scottish council

19/12/2016 | By Luke Barratt

The introduction of Universal Credit has caused a dramatic rise in rent arrears in eastern Scotland, according to a local council report.

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Eco

solar panels, right time for social landlords to invest in energy efficiency

Government review calls for housing associations to lead on energy efficiency

19/12/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

Housing associations are hindered from making energy efficiency improvements to their homes because of financial pressures and “competing regulatory priorities”, a government-commissioned review has concluded.

Man fitting solar panel on roof

London boroughs pilot solar batteries

14/12/2016 | By Clare Mullooly

Three London boroughs are testing solar battery installations on social homes, in a bid to find a workable model for solar power after swingeing government cuts last year.

Northampton

Zero Carbon Hub to close

30/03/2016 | By Pete Apps

The body set up to implement the now abandoned Zero Carbon Homes target will cease operations tomorrow.

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Research finds 'shocking' crash in energy measures

21/03/2016 | By Pete Apps

The Treasury has been criticised for failing on energy efficiency, after new research revealed a “truly shocking” crash in the number of home energy efficiency installations.

Pic of solar panel, builders gloves and hammer

Labour will not back bid to block solar cuts

02/02/2016

Labour peers will not support a Liberal Democrat push to block devastating cuts to solar subsidies in the House of Lords.

Pic of solar panel, builders gloves and hammer

Solar installations paused after 5,000th home

20/01/2016 | By Pete Apps

A Sunderland-based housing association will “pause” its solar panel installations, after a race against time to get as many fitted before government cuts kick in.

Man fitting solar panel on roof

Associations race to install solar panels

12/01/2016 | By Pete Apps

Housing associations are working to install solar panels before the government cuts subsidies next month.

12 days of xmas day  SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability - 2015 highlights

05/01/2016 | By IH reporters

Over the 12 days of Christmas, we have been reflecting on the best of our news, analysis and opinions coverage on the website since 1 January 2015. Each day we have picked a different topic. Today, for the last in the series, we focus on sustainability

DECC is seeking to change RHI application process

Councils to pioneer solar batteries

22/12/2015 | By Pete Apps

Four London councils are piloting the use of solar-charged batteries on their social housing, as government cuts to subsidies leave traditional rooftop panel installations “unviable”.

For use in Inside Housing, 18 September 2015

Boris presses ahead with zero carbon standard

23/11/2015 | By Carl Brown

Boris Johnson has announced he will push ahead with the implementation of the zero carbon homes standard in London despite the government axing planning regulations to promote it.

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Finance

Paragon issues £250m bond

AHF secures £114.8m record low bond

12/01/2017 | By Nick Johnstone

Two housing associations have secured a £114.8m bond at a record low rate under the government’s guaranteed finance scheme.

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Healey calls for answers over RTB financial risk

11/01/2017 | By Pete Apps

John Healey has called on the government to publish the measures it is taking to protect purchasers placing themselves in “significant financial risk” when buying through the extended Right to Buy.

Ilo of coin and two hands

Foxtons profits plummet by 46%

11/01/2017 | By Nick Johnstone

High-end estate agent Foxtons told investors today that its 2016 revenues are set to drop by 46%, while admitting that sales volumes would decline further in 2017.

merger - big fish swallows little fish

PfP to take over Derwent treasury

11/01/2017 | By Nick Johnstone

Derwent Living will see its treasury affairs fully taken over by Places for People, after it joined the group following a regulatory downgrade for its finances.

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RTB pilots: one in four express interest but sales limited

11/01/2017 | By Pete Apps

A quarter of eligible tenants expressed an interest in buying their homes under the Right to Buy extension pilot, but affordability acted as a major drag on actual sales.

Stock pic

Bovis chief executive steps down

10/01/2017 | By Pete Apps

The chief executive of house builder Bovis has stepped down following a profit warning before Christmas.

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L&Q in talks over deal to buy Gallagher

09/01/2017 | By Nick Johnstone

L&Q is in talks to purchase a massive strategic land portfolio for a reported £500m-plus.

Moody's warns credit rating

EMH Group keeps stable credit rating

06/01/2017 | By Sophie Barnes

An East Midlands-based housing association has kept its A+ rating from Standard & Poor’s (S&P).

signing contract deal

Civitas buys £15m supported living portfolio

03/01/2017 | By Nick Johnstone

Civitas Social Housing, the pioneering Real Estate Investment Trust, has today announced the acquisition of a £15m portfolio of 17 supported living properties.

merger

Major housing associations downgraded by Moody's following mergers

21/12/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

Two of the biggest housing associations in the country have been downgraded by Moody’s after the completion of their mergers.

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Legal

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Council prosecuted by fire service over Lakanal House blaze

04/01/2017 | By Sophie Barnes

Southwark Council is facing prosecution for breaching fire safety regulations following the deaths of six people in the Lakanal House fire.

freedom of information

Scottish Government proposes FOI for social landlords

01/12/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

The Scottish Government has launched a consultation into making housing associations in Scotland subject to Freedom of Information requests.

fraud

Government fraud team 'disappointed' by drop in recoveries

07/11/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

Only 54 social housing properties were recovered this year as part of efforts to stamp out tenancy fraud, a report from the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative (NFI) has revealed.

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Barratt director arrested over contracts probe

19/10/2016 | By Heather Spurr

A senior director at a major house builder has been arrested on suspicion of bribery, following an investigation into the awarding of contracts.

gavel law legal challenge

Solicitors warn of housing legal aid 'deserts'

29/07/2016 | By Carl Brown

Funding cuts have led to legal aid ‘deserts’ with people struggling to access representation or advice on housing issues, solicitors have warned.

Room of cannabis plants

Senior judges block tenant's eviction despite cannabis farm

07/07/2016 | By Pete Apps

A housing associations’ bid to evict a tenant who had 300 cannabis plants in her spare bedroom has been dismissed by senior judges.

John Healey

Healey: associations must find their voice again

10/06/2016 | By Pete Apps

Labour’s shadow housing minister John Healey has warned housing associations need to “find their voice again” after a failure to lobby effectively against the Housing and Planning Bill.

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Council to pay £26.8m water bill refund to tenants

09/06/2016 | By Heather Spurr

A London council faces paying a £26.8m refund to tenants who were overcharged for water, in a case that could have implications for many other landlords.

Finance director, Glasgow Housing Association

Ex-finance director faces voyeurism charges

26/05/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

The ex-finance director of the largest housing association in Scotland has been charged with offences related to voyeurism.

affordable

Court backs government planning policy

12/05/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

The Court of Appeal has backed a government decision to waive affordable housing requirements for small developments.

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Care

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MPs launch inquiry into supported housing funding

15/12/2016 | By Pete Apps

MPs have launched a joint inquiry into the government’s proposal to radically overhaul the funding of supported housing.

Homeless

Government will intervene if councils fail on homelessness prevention

12/12/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

The government will intervene with councils which are not meeting their homelessness prevention duties if a new law is passed, the minister responsible for homelessness has revealed.

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LHA cap: supported schemes remain on ice

08/12/2016 | By Simon Brandon

Supported housing providers are keeping development schemes on hold, despite a recent assurance from the government that current levels of funding will be maintained in the future.

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L&Q to launch £47m supported housing subsidiary

06/12/2016 | By Nick Johnstone

L&Q is planning a return to the supported accommodation sector with a new subsidiary called L&Q Living, which will manage more than 6,600 homes.

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255,000 homeless in England, says Shelter

01/12/2016 | By Mark Smulian

Some 255,000 people are homeless in England, housing charity Shelter has found.

Rough sleeping

Government commits extra £10m to rough sleeping fund

24/11/2016 | By Corin Williams

The government is to pump an extra £10m into the Rough Sleeping Fund over two years, doubling the money for “innovative approaches”.

Cathy carousel

One in three councils took children into care due to homelessness

18/11/2016 | By Martin Hilditch

One in three councils took a child into care in 2014/15 where a central reason for the decision was the family’s homelessness, an Inside Housing investigation has revealed.

Ilo

Report finds housing race inequalities

21/10/2016 | By Heather Spurr

Stark racial disadvantages and discrimination still exist in housing despite a raft of reforms since the 1960s, a report sponsored by housing associations has said.

Housing estate

Troubled Families Programme 'had no significant impact'

18/10/2016 | By Heather Spurr

A flagship government programme to improve the lives of “troubled families” has had no significant impact, a report commissioned by ministers has found.

Campbell Robb

Shelter chief to depart for JRF

06/10/2016 | By Carl Brown

Campbell Robb has announced he is leaving his role as chief executive of Shelter to join the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

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Regulation

repairs

Ombudsman relationship with regulator in spotlight after Circle issues

16/01/2017 | By Pete Apps

Gavin Barwell has committed to reviewing the relationship between the housing regulator and the ombudsman, in the aftermath of a flurry of problems at a new build development.

Northern Ireland Assembly

NI Government proposes sweeping private rented sector changes

10/01/2017 | By Sophie Barnes

The Northern Irish Government is proposing to make sweeping changes to the private rented sector in a consultation published today.

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Sheltered accommodation provider warned over quality concerns

22/12/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

A sheltered accommodation provider has been issued a regulatory notice for failing to meet the Decent Homes Standard and “significant” repairs and maintenance issues.

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Regulator slams newly merged Circle for ongoing repairs failings

21/12/2016 | By Pete Apps

The housing regulator has slammed the recently merged Circle Housing for risking “serious harm” to tenants due to ongoing repairs failings, despite assurances it had improved.

Merger

Interim judgements issued for merged landlords

15/12/2016 | By Pete Apps

The regulator has issued ‘interim’ judgements for two newly merged housing associations, as it shakes up its rules on ratings following a merger.

Magnifying glass

Two associations face regulatory investigation

13/12/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

Two housing associations could be downgraded after the regulator launched a review of their grading.

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Association under review after development subsidiary trouble

12/12/2016 | By Mark Smulian

Broadacres Housing Association has had its governance and viability gradings placed under review following problems at a development subsidiary.

red tape

Deregulation package to take effect in April

07/12/2016 | By Pete Apps

The deregulation package aimed at removing housing associations from the national balance sheet will come into effect from April, Inside Housing can reveal.

Regulator

'New regulator is not a return to TSA,' say HCA leaders

05/12/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

Senior leaders at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) have hit back at criticisms over regular changes to the social housing regulator over the past decade.

Brexit

Sector in 'robust' position to face post-Brexit economy

02/12/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

The housing association sector is in a “robust” position to respond to economic uncertainty following the Brexit vote, according to the latest quarterly survey from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

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