Housing associations can help councils ease the pain of ‘forced’ housing sales
The localisation of business rates in London in 2019 provides the opportunity for local authorities to think differently about how they work together, and how and with whom they deliver the homes that are needed in the capital.
That was the conclusion of a Chatham House round table with a group of London housing chiefs we hosted last month.
While there was much anger at the planned “forced” sale of high-value council homes under the government’s Right to Buy plan, and the deal that had been done between housing associations and the government without consultation with local authorities, those at the roundtable were also keen to find a way to ensure that receipts generated from sales in London stayed in the capital.
There is an opportunity here for housing associations to rebuild bridges with local authority colleagues
Many were interested in housing association registered providers coming to them with proposals to spend local authority right to buy receipts on rented schemes, before they were lost to the capital. Such receipts were also seen as a way of ensuring mixed tenure schemes for the future, matching local authority and GLA funding and the housing associations own resources.
There is an opportunity here for housing associations to rebuild bridges with local authority colleagues. Our round table confirmed that there is an appetite for local authorities to do more and a willingness to be creative. They want housing associations and developers to be working alongside them, seeing this as an opportunity to work more closely together. With the immediate tumult of the government’s housing association deal dying down, the question now is how exactly it’ll work.
Steve Douglas is a partner at Altair, who are now also acting as advisers to Gentoo Genie in London