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Peabody's Lord Kerslake speaks up in Lords against Housing Bill


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  [Peabody's Lord Kerslake speaks up in Lords against Housing Bill] - Posted: 30 January 2016 - 01:23 am GMT
erewhon

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Lord Kerslake was one of those objected to the Bill, saying it meant social housing was "being
written out of the script."

Read what he and others who do not want to see social housing & rents end have said in the Lords:

http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2016-01-27-Lords-to-start-proper-scrutiny-of-Housing-Bill

Has everybody emailed a Lord (any Lord!!) urging them to speak against the Housing Bill?


List of Lords is here, click on the Lord's name to get his email address:


http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/lords/



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  [RE: Peabody's Lord Kerslake speaks up in Lords against Housing Bill] - Posted: 18 February 2016 - 11:54 am GMT
Nik Wood

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Mary & I have written to him thus. No reply so far.

We are Peabody tenants and have been following the progress of this Bill and the opposition to its injustices in the media. From that we gather that you have a role in the Lordsí stages of the Bill which is wider than your Chairmanship of Peabodyís Trustees. We have some thoughts and questions and would be grateful if you could help us.

There is an unclear provision which seems to impose a reduction of 1% pa on the rents housing associations can charge their tenants. Is this the position or is it a 1% abatement of the increases? What is your understanding of the associationsí view on this?

There is the alarming provision known as Pay To Stay. We are two retired Civil Servants on two ex-HEO pensions and two old age pensions. This gives us an income above the £40K pa London threshold. Workers on the average London wage of £34K, for whom Peabodyís Stirling Prize nominated homes in Darbishire Place were built, would only need one OAP in the household to be caught. Similarly, Peabody required a household income of £72K pa for the three sharers to whom it rented a home in Robinson Road on our estate. As we understand it, the association would have no option but to impose this much higher rent if this provision were enacted. Is this the case?

These two provisions taken together would result in incentives and pressure on housing associations to go for as many full market rent lettings as possible, even to the detriment of any chartable purpose of letting to lower income key worker households. A landlordís costs are not proportional to the tenantís income so more at full rent is just money in the bank. What is your understanding of the associationsí view on this?

The destruction of lifelong tenancies, such as the one we and many of our neighbours have had here for forty years, must disrupt the kind of community building that charitable housing providers have sought to engender. The imposition of it and of market rent on those like us in our latter years will force us to move to isolated rural accommodation thus increasing the chance of us burdening social services.

The double injustice of the Right to Buy provision in this Bill which sees housing associations forced to sell their own assets and the subsidy to come from Council house sales is manifest to see. We are unclear on one aspect. Does it apply to all housing association homes or only to ex-Council ones? We are in Ex-Crown Estate. Does it apply to us or not?
Whatever the position, it will encourage indebtedness as tenants take on 25+ years of mortgage to buy leases in blocks. The cashflow implications of the rent constraints on associations will also mean they will be keen to take up this source of ready cash.

Experience shows that many homes bought on subsidised terms are quickly vacated and let at full market rent. And even where an overage clause in the sale terms means the original vendor gets some of any profit from a further, full market, sale it is little deterrent.

You will see that our concerns are more to do with the impact on tenancy and rental terms than on the right to buy matters which have been given prominence in the media coverage. We would be very grateful to know what you are able to tell us about your approach to the Parliamentary progress of this Bill and if there is anything where tenants such as us are in accord with the housing associationsí approach and can assist.

We are writing in similar terms to you fellow Peabody Trustee, Baroness Valentine.

On a loosely related matter, we were encouraged to read your article in The Times supporting the extension of Freedom Of Information provisions to charities who receive significant Government funding for their work. We hope that such a lead from the Chair of Trustees will be followed in Peabodyís approach to its tenants and their tenantsí associationsí representatives.



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  [RE: Peabody's Lord Kerslake speaks up in Lords against Housing Bill] - Posted: 16 March 2016 - 06:17 pm GMT
Nik Wood

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We got a reply to our letter to Kerslake and Valentine from Peabody. After a page of boilerplate the meat of it said this.

The reduction in social housing rents is contained in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. lf this is passed into law it will mean that the amount of rent payable by social housing tenants for each year from April 2016 to April 2019 will be 1% less than in the preceding 12 months. We understand that this will not apply to former
Crown Estate tenancies.

"Pay to Stay" will now be voluntary for housing associations, although the Housing Minister expects most to consider operating the policy. We are currently
assessing whether it would be possible to implement this policy in a manner
which is both fair to residents and enables us to use the proceeds to fund the
development of new affordable homes. We have raised our concerns about the
proposed income threshold for this policy and believe that £40,000 does not
represent a "high income" after the high costs of living in London are taken into
account

The extension-of lhe Right toBuy to housing association tenants will be
implemented along the lines of the voluntary agreement made with the National
Housing Federation. This will provide housing associations with discretion over
the sale of certain properties, such as those provided through charitable
resources. Many of Peabody's homes fall into this category. ln addition, we do
not believe that Right to Buy will apply to former Crown Estate tenancies
because they are outside of the scope of the Homes and Communities Agency's
regulatory powers

We recognise the concerns which you raise in your letter about this Bill and the
potential effect its provisions may have on housing associations, their tenants
and the overall supply of affordable housing. Peabody will continue to engage
with government on these matters wherever possible, presenting evidence and
helping to ensure that the interests of our residents and their wider communities
are taken into account.
Rebecca Sudworth
Director of Strategy and Communications

erehwon has pointed out that we missed the crucial matter of the loss of such security of tenure as remains. We also understand that the 1% reduction is already law. Hope it helps to know this and to help people get together to fight it.

Nik Wood



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  [RE: Peabody's Lord Kerslake speaks up in Lords against Housing Bill] - Posted: 16 March 2016 - 07:12 pm GMT
erewhon

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Was watching the Housing Bill in the House of Lords on TV the other day. The person representing the Bill for the Tories in the HoL was saying something along the lines of how much that 1% rent reduction would mean to social rent tenants. So important to them.

Right, not much more than £4 or £5 a month for many of us. Not such a huge gift to tenants. While it costs the HA landlords £millions and £billions. How will Peabody cut costs to make up for the lower income? Will the repairs budget suffer, perhaps? Will they borrow more, or shift the ratio of market rent/sale properties to social rent ones towards the former to bring in compensatory income? Probably that is what the government is after, fewer social rent properties being built in rich people's areas.



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  [RE: Peabody's Lord Kerslake speaks up in Lords against Housing Bill] - Posted: 17 March 2016 - 11:34 am GMT
Nik Wood

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On 14 March James McHugh wrote this on behalf of Peabody in reply to us.

As you rightly note, the Housing & Planning Bill includes a measure which intends to phase out secure tenancies. This was added as an amendment to the Bill at a late stage in the House of Commons, after the point at which we were invited to submit evidence via the Public Bill Committee. Under this policy lifetime tenancies would remain for existing tenants, continuing for new properties if the tenant was required by the landlord to move. My understanding of this is that it will only apply to local authority tenants and so we have not developed a corporate view on this as such.

With regards the rent reduction, I have attached a copy of the Explanatory Notes to the Welfare Reform & Work Bill taken from the point it was taken from the House of Commons to the Lords. Further information on the reduction in social housing rents is covered on pages 11, 14 and 26-28 of this document. Over the past few weeks this Bill has been passing back and forth between both Houses as there has been a number of disagreements on other sections of the Bill. There were only two amendments proposed by the Lords to the reduction in social housing rents, both of which concern the rent review dates which would apply.

Don't think he's right about the destruction of security of tenure for housing associations but are checking. On the reduction of rent for social housing there doesn't seem to have been any amendment carried but again we'll check. And erewhon is right. All Peabody tenants on any terms other than social housing, such as the intermediate terms here in Victoria Park, will be squeezed to cover this short fall. And Peabody is selling to raise quick cash. Two in Gore Road last week, one of which didn't make the reserve at auction.

What a shambles. And barely a peep out of Her Majesty's Loyal, navel-gazing Opposition.

Nik Wood



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