Stunell rejects demand for co-operative tenancy
The government has rejected calls for a new form of tenancy agreement to support co-operative housing.
Labour/Co-operative MP Jonathan Reynolds called a debate in parliament last week to argue a new tenancy was needed in the light of the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Berrisford v Mexfield Housing Co-operative last year.
This found the periodic tenancies granted by housing co-operatives do not have a legal status, and should instead be considered as a tenancy for life. This raised doubts over whether they could be ended by a notice to quit, as in the case of a periodic tenancy.
Mr Reynolds said the ruling presented housing co-operatives with a range of problems, including access to repairs and housing benefit, and called for ‘a new legal framework to define the relationship between a housing co-operative and its members’.
This view was rejected by communities minister Andrew Stunell. ‘We do not need a new form of co-operative housing tenure,’ he said.
‘We need existing tenancy agreements to be in accordance with best practice – Mexfield avoidance compliant, if I can put it that way – to avoid any of the consquences that the honourable member for Stalybride and Hyde [Mr Reynolds] mentioned.’
He added that the government is keen to encourage co-operative housing, and is working with the Homes and Communities Agency and Confederation of Co-operative Housing to ‘develop an investment fund to support the co-operative sector’.