Hammersmith & Fulham Council have come up with a novel way of angering their tenants.
Faced with a substantial rent arrears problem, with a reported 46% of tenants in arrears (what with the bedroom tax, the end of council tax benefit and all), H&F decided to send out a Christmas card to tenants.
Here it is, in all its festive glory. The message is that H&F tenants are exactly the short of people who would blow all their money on over-indulging, thoughtlessly and casually neglecting to pay the rent. This might be thought bad enough, when being sent out to people who are quite possibly struggling to get by … Read the full post
In other bedroom tax news, the DWP has issued a Circular to Local Authorities on The Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (Size Criteria) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013 – the new regulations implementing the Gorry judgment on LHA and housing benefit assessments involving disabled children unable to share a bedroom by reason of their disability. The new regulations are in force from 4 December 2013, some time after the Minister got a thorough telling off on the failure to introduce regulations in R (MA & Ors).
The circular is here.… Read the full post
I see that the Master of the Rolls has just issued a practice direction in respect of (what appears to be) many tens (if not hundreds?) of negligence claims arising out of RTB sales (see here).
Reading between the lines, a firm called Tandem Law (see here) appear to have brought lots of claims for negligence against solicitors who acted in RTB claims. It looks like there is said to be something dodgy about how mortgages were arranged. Now the cases are all being pulled together for Sales J to try and deal with.
Does anyone know anything more about this? It sounds like quite a big deal…… Read the full post
We all know that the bedroom tax has created huge problems for both tenants, desperately trying and often failing to find the additional 14% or 25% of rent, and for social landlords, watching arrears spiral rapidly upwards.
But I don’t think there is anything that is capable of excusing the actions of South Ayrshire Council in the letters it is sending out to its tenants with ‘Notice of Proceedings’ (Scottish version of Notice seeking Possession). Here is the letter. Fairly standard until you reach the sentence after the passage in bold.
“We may also inform Children Services”.
In the context of the point this letter is sent and of … Read the full post
We have previously commented (fairly negatively!) on the plans to introduce compulsory membership of redress schemes for lettings and property management agency work which appeared at the last minute in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.
Slightly surprisingly (actually it isn’t, that was a rhetorical device) the government has, instead of producing the consultation that was promised on this issue, produced a draft Statutory Instrument which sets out the requirements for any organisation that is seeking approval as a redress scheme provider.
There is not a huge amount of useful information in the draft SI, unless you are considering applying to be a redress scheme of course! There … Read the full post
Although there appears to be a ministerial vacancy for housing policy (https://www.gov.uk/government/ministers/minister-of-state–11 h/t to Martin Partington and Jules Birch), quite a lot is happening. There are some interesting goings on about the allocation of social housing. In a consultation paper (responses by 22nd November 2013 to email@example.com), Providing social housing for local people, DCLG are suggesting upping the ante by altering the Code of Guidance. It proposes:
- the new guidance should “strongly encourage” local authorities to include a two year residency qualification;
- other criteria for people who are “strongly associated” with the area (eg family association and employment);
- the need for appropriate exceptions (eg domestic violence);
- and more stuff about
… Read the full post
I didn’t comment here on Eric Pickles announcement of a ‘Tenants Charter’ at the Tory conference because, on inspection of the DCLG press release, it looked like a burp of a soundbite, with absolutely no significant likely effect. I contented myself with being rude about it in 140 characters on twitter, as that seemed sufficient. This didn’t stop some landlord organisations and journals getting terribly over-excited about the perceived threat of ‘required’ longer tenancies. There was (and remains) no such requirement.
However, the latest, slightly more detailed, press release does have some interesting bits in it, and perhaps more telling is the direction of travel – the recognition that private … Read the full post