29 September, 2015
Social landlords have been given just 7 days in which to make a decision which could significantly affect their future.
Last week a proposal was put to all housing associations to vote on the voluntary introduction of the Right to Buy extension, as opposed enforcing it by way of legislation. It was expressed in the letter sent to the 1,400 housing associations that the NHF hopes that a voluntary deal will allow housing associations to keep their independence and allow housing associations to form a good working relationship with the Government to "secure the best achievable deal for the sector". The NHF believes the proposed deal with give housing associations more control and flexibility ensuring that they remain a registered charity and giving them the power to refuse sales in certain areas where there is a shortage of social housing.
Social landlords and their boards now have a very small window to make such a significant decision. There are numerous questions unanswered and many gaps in the detail of how the proposal will work. It is not yet clear at this early stage how the compensation payable to the housing associations would be funded, whether councils will be able to vote nor is it known how many votes will be needed to pass the proposal.
The NHF require votes in from housing associations on this proposal by 2pm on Friday 2nd October 2015. If a 'no' vote is received it is possible that the Right to Buy extension could still be implemented by way of the Housing Bill.
Lachlan McLean, Partner in the Housing Litigation Department at Forbes Solicitors, commented on the proposal stating; "The accumulated legislation governing the Right to Buy, Preserved Right to Buy and Right to Acquire is extremely complex and in need of consolidation and reform. The proposal by the NHF to adopt a voluntary and more flexible model in relation to the charitable housing sector is potentially ground-breaking. However, it is also ambitious and requires meticulous consideration of the details to ensure that any proposals are workable and that inconsistencies of approach are avoided."
For further information please contact any member of the Housing & Regeneration (Property) Team on 01772 220022.