A weekly round-up of the most important headlines for housing professionals
There was a very unusual intervention in the world of social housing earlier this week. On Monday, the Regulator of Social Housing decided to strip a housing association of its registered provider status.
Inside Housing revealed that Green Park, an exempt accommodation provider that at one point managed nearly 900 bedspaces in Birmingham, has been de-registered. The ground for this was that the organisation no longer provided any social housing.
In November last year, Green Park was stripped of its exempt accommodation status by Birmingham City Council, which meant it could no longer apply for the higher, uncapped housing benefit for its residents. This led the managing agents that leased properties to Green Park to move their leases to another provider.
It is a highly unusual step by the English regulator, but does reflect an increased scrutiny on exempt accommodation providers in Birmingham.
This was not our only story on Birmingham-based exempt accommodation providers this week either.
Alongside the revelation were details of the association’s accounts, which revealed forensic investigation into the landlord’s finances and detailed what the commission described as “serious financial management issues” over a period of time at the provider.
Included in this account, auditor Cooper Parry reported a number of issues at the association, including unpaid taxes stretching more than a decade and a “complete lack of internal controls surrounding the identification, declaration and recording of related party transactions”.
The details are intriguing and worth a read for anyone interested in this sub-sector of social housing.
The building safety crisis continues to dominate our coverage. This morning we reported on leaseholders who are facing potential remedial bills worth tens of thousands of pounds to remove flammable insulation calling on the manufacturer, Kingspan, to pay for the removal.
Inside Housing spoke to several leaseholders whose lives have been shaken up because of the presence of Kingspan Kooltherm K15 on their buildings and were calling on the organisation to step in and cover their crippling personal bills.
Much of these problems stem from the Grenfell Tower tragedy. This week we heard opening statements for module three, which will deal with social housing management of the block – this will be of importance to our readers over the coming months.
However, alongside our coverage on that (this week’s round-up can be found here) was our scoop that Colin Todd, a key expert witness who will analyse the actions of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, is the father of the council’s head of fire safety.
And finally, there was huge news for the sector this morning as the government confirmed it would be bringing in a raft of changes to the shared ownership model. The most significant new detail was that shared owners of new build homes would now be given 990-year leases.
Jack Simpson, news editor
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