David Orr said the government may allow extra time for social landlords at the National Housing Federation conference in Birmingham yesterday.
The government has cut short its policy of gradually aligning social rents. It is not planning to extend rent convergence beyond the 2014/15 financial year. This has concerned landlords which have yet to complete convergence. They were expecting to be able to increase their rents and if they are unable to do so their capacity to build could be affected.
Mr Orr said the NHF spent weeks ‘in very detailed conversations’ with government officials about the rent settlement and convergence was not even mentioned. He said ending of rent convergence ‘came out of the clear blue distance without anyone properly understanding the impact of it.’
However he said: ‘We started a conversation which I think, and [I’m] starting to get more optimistic,…will lead to a point where government will allow us to consider an extension beyond 31 March 2015, at least for some organisations.’
A consultation on rent convergence is likely to be published on 5 October, Inside Housing understands.