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All the latest breaking stories from the affordable housing sector.

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Regeneration in Gateshead, Newcastle

Developers warn against councils using CPOs for undeveloped land

27/09/2016 7:30 am | By Sophie Barnes

The Home Builders Federation fears councils could seek to use compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to hinder development, following Birmingham’s groundbreaking move to seize undeveloped land from developers.

NHF conference

Dispatches from Birmingham

23/09/2016 1:09 pm | By News team

The housing association sector’s leaders have converged on Birmingham for the last few days for the annual National Housing Federation conference. There was no shortage of drama, thought-provoking discussion, talking points and juicy gossip. Inside Housing looks at the highlights.

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NHF still hopeful BoE will buy bonds

23/09/2016 8:06 am | By Pete Apps

The National Housing Federation (NHF) is continuing to push for housing associations to be included in a Bank of England (BoE) bond-buying scheme, despite their exclusion from the initial list.

Andy Burnham

Burnham: give Manchester its own welfare budget

27/09/2016 4:21 pm | By Pete Apps

Andy Burnham has called on the government to devolve welfare spending to Greater Manchester.

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Scottish PRS triples in size

27/09/2016 4:17 pm | By Sophie Barnes

The private rented sector in Scotland has almost tripled in size as a proportion of total stock over the past 16 years, the latest Scottish Household Survey has revealed.

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Brighton Council pauses waiting list rule changes

27/09/2016 4:08 pm | By Carl Brown

Brighton & Hove City Council has put plans to tighten its social housing allocations criteria on hold following concerns from opposition councillors.

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HFI calls for rural exemption to high-value home levy

27/09/2016 2:43 pm | By Heather Spurr

Local authorities outside of major urban areas should be exempt from paying the government’s high-value home levy, a Treasury-backed group has said.

Spanners

Sovereign moves repairs in-house

27/09/2016 1:53 pm | By Carl Brown

Sovereign is bringing its Hampshire repairs service in-house in a bid to save £2m over five years.

Teresa Pearce

Labour still calculating cost of 500,000 social home pledge

27/09/2016 10:14 am | By Pete Apps

Labour is still calculating the cost of its pledge to build 500,000 ‘social’ homes in its first five years of government.

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Khan to publish 'best practice' guide for estate regeneration

26/09/2016 5:31 pm | By Pete Apps

Sadiq Khan is preparing to publish a “best practice guide” to outline basic standards for estate regeneration in the capital, his deputy has revealed. 

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Development

NHF conference

Dispatches from Birmingham

23/09/2016 | By News team

The housing association sector’s leaders have converged on Birmingham for the last few days for the annual National Housing Federation conference. There was no shortage of drama, thought-provoking discussion, talking points and juicy gossip. Inside Housing looks at the highlights.

Teresa Pearce

Labour still calculating cost of 500,000 social home pledge

27/09/2016 | By Pete Apps

Labour is still calculating the cost of its pledge to build 500,000 ‘social’ homes in its first five years of government.

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Khan to publish 'best practice' guide for estate regeneration

26/09/2016 | By Pete Apps

Sadiq Khan is preparing to publish a “best practice guide” to outline basic standards for estate regeneration in the capital, his deputy has revealed. 

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NIFHA: 2,000 homes ambition would be threatened by reclassification

26/09/2016

An ambition to increase housebuilding to 2,000 social homes annually in Northern Ireland would be threatened by this week’s expected reclassification of housing associations unless ministers act swiftly, landlords have warned.

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Javid gives green light for 440-home scheme

23/09/2016 | By Carl Brown

Sajid Javid has given the green light to a controversial 440-home development in Bradford.

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HCA warns stock sales risk damaging sector's reputation

22/09/2016 | By Heather Spurr

The social housing regulator has warned that housing associations risk damaging the reputation of the sector if they sell stock inhabited by social tenants.

Gavin Barwell

Barwell: we will consider funding wider mix of tenures

22/09/2016 | By Pete Apps

The government will consider allowing housing associations to use Affordable Homes Programme grant to fund a wider mix of tenures, the housing minister has said.

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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.

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NHF: grant bids would have been 60% higher with flexibility

21/09/2016 | By Pete Apps

Housing associations would have bid for 60% more grant in the recently closed funding programme if the government had heeded calls for flexibility, the National Housing Federation (NHF) has said. 

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London Living Rent confirmed as homeownership product

20/09/2016 | By Heather Spurr

City Hall has confirmed that the London Living Rent scheme will be used to enable people to buy a home.

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Repairs

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.

Spanners

NHF: association stock 'in better condition' than other tenures

10/08/2016 | By Carl Brown

Housing association properties are more likely to be in a better condition than homes owned by councils and private landlords, according to research by the National Housing Federation (NHF).

Former Ministry of Defence properties at Howe Barracks in Canterbury.

Investors sought for 40,000 Armed Forces homes

20/07/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

Senior figures linked to a Ministry of Defence department are seeking to encourage investors to buy around 40,000 Armed Forces homes from a private company.

Former Ministry of Defence properties at Howe Barracks in Canterbury.

Armed forces left without heating and hot water, finds PAC

13/07/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

The Ministry of Defence and one of its contractors are “badly letting down” armed forces’ families by giving them “poor accommodation”, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has concluded.

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Midlands council could set up repairs company

12/07/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

Stoke-on-Trent Council is considering setting up a company to deal with the repairs and maintenance of its council housing.

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North East associations set up cost-sharing vehicle

08/07/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

Two housing associations in the North East have set up a cost-sharing company in a bid to drive down their spending.

Northern Ireland Housing Executive building on Adelaide Street in Belfast

NIHE repairs contracts announced

08/07/2016 | By Pete Apps

The Northern Irish Housing Executive (NIHE) has named four contractors to carry out up to £1bn of repairs across its 87,000 homes over the next 10 years.

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Tenancies

brighton pier

Brighton Council pauses waiting list rule changes

27/09/2016 | By Carl Brown

Brighton & Hove City Council has put plans to tighten its social housing allocations criteria on hold following concerns from opposition councillors.

David Montague

G15 calls for benefit system overhaul

14/09/2016 | By Chloë Stothart

London’s largest housing associations have urged the government to overhaul the benefits system to ensure that “work pays”.

Calculator

Council urges ministers to use HMRC for Pay to Stay

01/09/2016 | By Heather Spurr

A London council has urged the government to use its own tax office to introduce Pay to Stay, amid fears the policy will impose an extra layer of bureaucracy on councils.

For use in Inside Housing, 2 September 2016

Merger fever: the tenants' view Video

30/08/2016 | By Carl Brown

Tenants are helping to devise an alternative merger code. Carl Brown finds out why

fraud

IT analyst guilty of £430,000 housing association fraud

19/08/2016 | By Carl Brown

A former IT analyst has today been convicted of fraud after attempting to con Genesis Housing Association out of £430,000.

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NHF crowdfunds Pay to Stay data tool

19/08/2016 | By Pete Apps

The National Housing Federation (NHF) has called on members to help crowdfund £70,000 for a data project estimating tenants’ incomes ahead of the voluntary introduction of Pay to Stay.

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Watchdog warns councils to be flexible in complex cases

11/08/2016 | By Carl Brown

Councils should be flexible in their housing policies when dealing with people with complex needs, a watchdog has said.

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Social landlord possession claims continue to fall

11/08/2016 | By Carl Brown

Possession claims issued by social landlords have continued to fall, Ministry of Justice figures show.

Shared ownership keys house buy

New scheme to help tenants buy their social homes

11/08/2016 | By Pete Apps

One of the UK’s largest housing associations plans to discount tenants’ rents, freeze property prices and top up savings in a pioneering bid to help tenants buy their social home.

Man in hooded jacket

Scottish landlord criticised for lack of ASB policy

29/07/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

A housing association has been criticised by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) for failing to have an anti-social behaviour (ASB) policy in place for its supported housing.

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Eco

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.

Gas

Energy company strikes deal with housing association

11/11/2015 | By Pete Apps

An energy company has struck an exclusive deal to supply a Merseyside housing association as it targets a major expansion into social housing.

energy bills

Places for People unveils energy company

26/10/2015 | By Carl Brown

Places for People has announced it has set up an energy company.

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Finance

NHF conference

Dispatches from Birmingham

23/09/2016 | By News team

The housing association sector’s leaders have converged on Birmingham for the last few days for the annual National Housing Federation conference. There was no shortage of drama, thought-provoking discussion, talking points and juicy gossip. Inside Housing looks at the highlights.

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NHF still hopeful BoE will buy bonds

23/09/2016 | By Pete Apps

The National Housing Federation (NHF) is continuing to push for housing associations to be included in a Bank of England (BoE) bond-buying scheme, despite their exclusion from the initial list.

rates fall low interest cost bond finance

Long-term value of social housing falls post rent cut

26/09/2016 | By Pete Apps

The long-term value of social housing properties has slipped significantly across most of the country as a result of the rent cut.

Labour

Labour would scrap Right to Buy in England

25/09/2016 | By Pete Apps

Labour has dropped its support of the Right to Buy, calling for the controversial policy to be indefinitely suspended in England.

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Right to Buy sales pass 45,000 since 2012

22/09/2016 | By Pete Apps

More than 45,000 council homes have been sold under the Right to Buy since boosted discounts were introduced in 2012, with just over 7,000 replacements started.

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House prices 'impaired' RTB demand in London

22/09/2016 | By Pete Apps

Tenants hoping to access the extended Right to Buy (RTB) in London were frozen out because homes were too expensive to mortgage even with a £100,000 discount, landlords running the pilot have revealed.

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'LHA cap' will apply to existing supported housing tenants

21/09/2016 | By Heather Spurr

A new housing benefit cap will apply to existing as well as future supported housing tenants, a senior Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) official has said.

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Thirteen Group plans to collapse structure

21/09/2016 | By Carl Brown

North-east based landlord Thirteen Group is to consult tenants about conflating its group structure.

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Genesis records £28.7m surplus

21/09/2016 | By Pete Apps

A north London based housing association has recorded a surplus of £28.7m for 2015/16, and built 314 new homes.

David Orr

NHF turnover drops 4.4%

21/09/2016 | By Heather Spurr

The National Housing Federation’s underlying turnover fell by more than 4% this year due partly to a drop in commercial income.

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Legal

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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.

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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.

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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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'Blacklisting' case settled out of court

09/05/2016 | By Pete Apps

Construction firms will pay £10m to workers who claimed they were blacklisted for union activities, concluding a long-running legal battle.

Elderly Accommodation Council to get £1.5 million

DCLG: Tenancies change will not hit protected groups

05/05/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

The phasing out of lifetime tenancies will not negatively impact protected demographic groups overall, the government has said.

Trudy Ali Balogun

Housing officer jailed over homelessness fraud

04/05/2016 | By Pete Apps , Agencies

A council housing officer was jailed for five years today after a “sophisticated” fraud which saw her process 23 bogus homelessness applications.  

Westminster Parliament government

Peers push back on Housing and Planning Bill

04/05/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

Peers are pushing back on the government’s rejection of their amendments in the Housing and Planning Bill.

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Care

Andy Burnham

Burnham: give Manchester its own welfare budget

27/09/2016 | By Pete Apps

Andy Burnham has called on the government to devolve welfare spending to Greater Manchester.

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'LHA cap' will apply to existing supported housing tenants

21/09/2016 | By Heather Spurr

A new housing benefit cap will apply to existing as well as future supported housing tenants, a senior Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) official has said.

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HAs turn to economic analysis to prove NHS savings

20/09/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

Housing associations are increasingly using economic analysis to show the NHS how they can help cut health costs.

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Housing association to sell £30m home care business

16/09/2016 | By Heather Spurr

One of the housing sector’s biggest older people-specialist landlords is selling its £30m home care business as tough market conditions bite.

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Department of Health announces £25m fund

15/09/2016 | By Chloë Stothart

The Department of Health has announced a £25m fund to make technological adaptations to the homes of people with learning disabilities.

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Supported housing: sector warns of uncertain future

15/09/2016 | By Heather Spurr

Housing bodies and charities have warned of an uncertain future for supported housing, following the government’s long-awaited announcement of a funding plan this morning.

For use in Inside Housing, 2 October 2015

Affordable housing 'greatest barrier' to refugee resettlement

13/09/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

A lack of affordable housing is “one of the greatest barriers” to housing Syrian refugees, with the benefit cap pricing them out of London and the South East.

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Theresa May plans 'LHA cap' exemption for refuges

07/09/2016 | By Heather Spurr

Theresa May is planning to exempt domestic violence refuges from a housing benefit cut, she said today.

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'LHA cap' could force two in three refuges to close

05/09/2016 | By Pete Apps

Capping housing benefit at Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates will force 67% of domestic violence refuges in England to close, a campaign group has said.

Image for use in 5 December 2014

'More older people's housing could save taxpayer £14bn'

19/08/2016 | By Carl Brown

The taxpayer could save £14.5bn over 50 years if just one couple among every 50 older homeowners downsizes into specialist retirement housing.

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Regulation

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HCA warns stock sales risk damaging sector's reputation

22/09/2016 | By Heather Spurr

The social housing regulator has warned that housing associations risk damaging the reputation of the sector if they sell stock inhabited by social tenants.

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”.

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Lending faces 'challenges' following deregulation

16/09/2016 | By Heather Spurr

The Scottish Housing Regulator has pledged to work with the government and lenders to head off any negative impact because of deregulation.

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Housing experts welcome Scottish deregulation plan

08/09/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

Housing figures have welcomed the Scottish Government’s deregulatory package.

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Sturgeon announces association deregulation bill

06/09/2016 | By Sophie Barnes

The Scottish Government has announced measures to weaken the power of the regulator if housing associations are re-classified as public sector bodies.

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Scottish regulator intervenes over illegitimate board

02/09/2016 | By Heather Spurr

The Scottish Housing Regulator has intervened after a housing association was found to have just two legitimate members on its governing committee.

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Scottish associations scale back rent increases

01/09/2016

Scottish social landlords have cut back on planned rent increases, with average rises down by nearly a half in the past two years, a report has found.

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Housing association placed on watchlist

31/08/2016 | By Heather Spurr

A Norfolk-based housing association has been put on the English social housing regulator’s ‘watchlist’ due to concerns over its governance.

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RTB for NI associations could be scrapped

31/08/2016 | By Heather Spurr

The Northern Ireland Executive would consider halting the Right to Buy for housing associations if the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reclassifies them as public.

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Lenders ramp up scrutiny ahead of deregulation drive

26/08/2016 | By Heather Spurr

Lenders are toughening up their scrutiny of English housing association mergers as the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) prepares to scale down regulation of the sector.

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