Forbes Solicitors
Housing & Regeneration eNews
June 2020

MEETING THE CHALLENGE: COVID 19 and Virtual Meetings


Appeal of Practice Direction 51Z Fails


Covid-19: The Impact on Developers & Affordable Homes

MEETING THE CHALLENGE: COVID 19 and Virtual Meetings

The coronavirus pandemic is presenting the housing sector with complex issues as urgent decisions need to be made by decision-makers. In these unprecedented times, RPs are exploring changes to the way in which decisions are taken to reduce the risk of infection while ensuring that executives, directors and trustees are able to perform their roles and support their colleagues.

For the housing community, these governance issues are proving to be testing. Boards of directors or trustees have overall responsibility for the RP's management, including its response to the pandemic and ensuring effective plans are in place to cover any further disruptions. The board's role is one of strategy and governance oversight including on health and safety, data protection and other key issues. How a board meets to fulfils its decision-making obligations is dependent not just on practicalities but also on the powers granted to it by way of the RP's governing document.


Business as Usual or Unusual?

With the lockdown starting to ease and plans in place for how we can get back to normal, we need to be mindful that things will not be the same or 'business as usual' for quite some time.

There is a lot to be considered in the near future and as for the construction sector in particular, what needs to be considered?

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How important is the "Lockdown Test?"

Whilst we are in the midst of a pandemic and the country is in lockdown, everyone has been advised to stay at home wherever possible. For many, this means that they are living and working from their homes. The majority of those asked would likely list access to gardens and open spaces as being crucial to their wellbeing. Alison Inman, the former President of the Chartered Institute of Housing has written an article, published by Inside Housing, suggesting that all new homes should pass the lockdown test. The idea behind the test is to ensure that new housing stock that is being built is done so with the suitability of the property in mind whilst in a lockdown.


Covid-19: The Impact on Developers & Affordable Homes

Building, who provide information and intelligence to the construction industry, have reported that developers are calling for planning rules to be loosened due to the coronavirus pandemic, which could affect affordable housing.

The London Property Alliance, real estate representatives, have written to the housing and communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, calling for a 2-year extension to existing planning permissions in order to ensure they don't expire during the current lockdown of the industry. Which seem reasonable; however, they have also called for a re-introduction of flexibilities, which was last seen during the global financial crisis in 2008, that would enable developers to renegotiate s106 obligations such as the provision of affordable housing. This could result in a fall in the number of affordable houses being built.

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Appeal of Practice Direction 51Z Fails

As you all know by now the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force on 26 March 2020. Since this time all possession proceedings, and all proceedings seeking to enforce an order for possession have been stayed for 90 days with any new Notices of Seeking Possession and Section 21 Notices being amended to 3 month Notices, regardless of grounds. New possession claims can still be issued however they will automatically be stayed until the end of the moratorium period, presently 25 June 2020. The Practice Direction is to cease to have effect from 30 October 2020, unless extended.

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Spotlight on...

Zayna Ibrahim, Solicitor

I work as a Solicitor within the Home Ownership team as part of the Housing & Regeneration (Property) Department.  I act on behalf of Registered Providers on matters including lease extensions, shared ownership plot sales, resales, surrender of leases, staircasing and sales and purchases of land and properties. Prior to working at Forbes, I worked as a Residential Conveyancer.  This experience has been invaluable in showing me the conveyancing transactions from the tenant’s point of view, ensuring that I am aware of any potential issues or delays and can deal with them accordingly.

Describe yourself in three words - Determined, helpful and a team player

What do colleagues say is your best quality? - Being helpful seems to be the unanimous winner! Being able to give advice and explain issues and queries so that we can come to a solution together.   

Favourite holiday destination -

This is such a hard question! My favourite beach holiday destination would have to be Spain as I love their way of life! Everyone is so friendly, and the local dishes are delicious…you just can’t beat fresh paella and sangria looking out at the sea.

I also love exploring new cities, my favourites so far are Amsterdam closely followed by Prague. Both have such stunning architecture and history surrounds you. I love the idea that so many people have walked the same path before.

Next on my list is New York at Christmas… skating at the Rockefeller Center has been a lifelong dream of mine!

Past and upcoming online events

  • Now is not the time to quit... or is it?

Sarah Rogers, Senior Associate from the Housing & Regeneration Litigation team will be hosting a live Q&A covering the effective use of Notices to Quit during the pandemic and beyond on Tuesday 2nd June at 2.00pm - 3.00pm.

If you would like to book a place, please click here.

Please see the links below to our previous online events:

Ground Floor, Oak House, 28 Sceptre Way, Walton Summit, Preston PR5 6AW

Main Office: Rutherford House, 4 Wellington Street (St. Johns), Blackburn, BB1 8DD
where a list of partners is open to inspection   ·   t: 01254 222399   ·   f: 01254 52347   ·   Terms & Conditions

This firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA No. 46408)

Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority   ·   VAT No. 174 394 344

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The content of this e-alert is merely informative and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice