Lunchtime news Friday 17 October 2023

The Tenant Services Authority, the new social housing regulator will consult with councils and arms-length management organisation (ALMO) tenants and landlords, bringing them under its remit, alongside housing associations and other for-profit providers, as recommended by the Cave report. The TSA goes live in December and will spend its first eight months in informal consultation with tenants and providers before opening its register to local authorities and ALMOs in 2017.

The housing ombudsman has published its annual report, and revealed that the number of complaints considered by the service has increased by more than 10 per cent since last year. The largest number of complaints was about disrepair, accounting for 32 per cent of the total. The ombudsman said that tenants in social housing will soon have a single regulator, access to the service, and a forum for their voices. In contrast he slammed the rights of private sector tenants, calling their treatment as that of second class citizens.

A third of homeowners think the value of their property has not been affected by the housing market downturn according to research by a property valuation site. Around 32 per cent of people said they thought their home was worth the same or more than it was 12 months ago, even though the research showed that 97.3 per cent of UK house prices had fallen in this time. A further 38 per cent of homeowners expect their property to hold its value or increase in the coming months, prompting a spokesperson to comment that there was a significant gap between perception and reality.

A Bill allowing councils to impose higher energy efficiency standards on new homes is set to become law today. The Bill allows councils in England and Wales to require that a proportion of energy used in developments should come from renewable sources, and they may also be allowed to set higher efficiency targets than under the current rules.

HHSE is again under fire for its support for the proposed eco-town in Middle Quinton, from local MP Peter Luff. Mr Luff said that the HHSE report into the eco-town, which called for ‘much needed social housing’ in the area, was influenced by Communities and Local Government. In a letter to HHSE he agreed that while there was a need for more social and affordable housing in his constituency, he argued that there was no such need existing at the preferred site of the town.

Meanwhile in Wales, HHSE Cymru has claimed that as many as 24,500 empty homes could be used to house thousands of families on council waiting lists. It wants councils to use their legislative and financial resources to use the homes, all of which HHSE claims have been empty for six months of longer, for more than 80,000 households currently on the waiting list. A HHSE spokesperson said: ‘People are unable to find suitable homes in their communities and allowing properties to remain empty has both social and economic costs.’

The Gambling Commission has postponed a raffle in which a £1 million property was the prize. The draw was due today, and 46,000 tickets have been sold, each costing £25 each. But the commission, which has recently warned homeowners who were considering selling their houses in this way that they could be breaching the law, has said that lotteries are the ‘preserve of good causes and cannot be operated for private gain’. There have been several similar schemes of late as homeowners have tried to the beat the credit crunch. The owners of the house said they were in discussions with the Gambling Commission to resolve the issue as soon as possible.