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HOUSING ASSOCIATION RIGHT-TO-BUY ENDANGERS CHEAP LAND DEALS

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The Chartered Institute of Housing is calling for greater clarity throughout the lengthy and much-amended Housing B...
The Chartered Institute of Housing is calling for greater clarity throughout the lengthy and much-amended Housing Bill as it makes slow and rocky progress through its parliamentary committee stages.

In particular the CIH, while supporting the principle, is concerned that the power in the bill afforded to housing association tenants to buy their homes could endanger Section 106 agreements.

Section 106 agreements allow land to pass from councils to housing associations at knock-down prices, on condition that properties will be provided for rent. The CIH fears that agreements could be discouraged by the idea that rented homes could be sold off.

CIH chief executive Christine Laird said: 'It is right that housing association tenants should enjoy the same rights as council tenants, but guarantees on land availability to housing associations need to be secure to enable more tenants to enjoy those rights in the long term.'

The institute also wants further clarification on the duty of local authorities to allocate permanent accommodation to those in housing need.

The department of environment - in response to correspondence from Ms Laird - has confirmed that households in need and already registered on council waiting lists could be offered long-term social housing under new homelessness legislation. As a result, councils will be able to allocate permanent accommodation to homeless families who have 'nearly enough points for an offer of suitable accommodation'. The CIH is now pressing for a systematic approach to allocation policies.

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