Housing

Banning letting agent fees paid by tenants

Department for Communities and Local Government

Opens: 7 April 2017
Closes: 2 June 2017

This consultation seeks views on the implementation of a ban on letting agent fees paid by tenants.

The government announced at the 2016 Autumn Statement that it would consult on introducing a ban on letting agent fees paid by tenants, to improve competition in the private rental market and give renters greater clarity and control over what they will pay.

This consultation paper invites views and comments on how the ban on letting agent fees paid by tenants in England should be implemented and enforced.

To support the consultation process, the government has organised a series of workshops. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis and the workshops will be tailored to different parts of the sector. Find out more details on the workshops and book your place. (more…)

Farrow Court wins design award

The Farrow Court, the sheltered housing complex recently rebuilt for Ashford Borough Council (ABC), has been named Best Major Residential Project in the Kent Design and Development Awards.

With the emphasis very much on quality of life, the new Farrow Court is built to Lifetime Homes and the council’s space standards and will also feature a new day-care centre, communal facilities, a hairdressers and a restaurant that can be used by all of the local community.

The £15.4m rebuild work will make Farrow Court the flag bearer for the Borough’s future provision for older people. The project is seen as essential by ABC as by 2026 it is anticipated that 40% of Ashford’s population will be aged over 50.

The new accommodation will offer a total of 104 high-quality living spaces; including eight recuperative care units for people released from hospital who need additional respite care before they can return to their homes, and 12 units for people with learning disabilities. (more…)

Inquiry into supported housing funding reform launched

HousesJoint inquiry into the Government’s funding reform for supported housing.

Commons Select Committee for Work and Pensions and
Commons Select Committee for Communities and Local Government

Opens: 15 December 2016
Closes: 3 February 2017

The Work and Pensions Committee and the Communities and Local Government Committee launch a joint inquiry into the Government’s funding reform for supported housing.

Scope of the inquiry

The inquiry examines the planned changes for 2019–20, when core rent and service charges for supported housing will be funded through Housing Benefit or Universal Credit up to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate. For costs above this, funding will go to local authorities for disbursement locally.

The Committee considers whether the new system will ensure that the varied rate of the LHA cap will not adversely affect tenants and providers in low-value parts of the country. It examines how existing tenants will be protected following the switch and ask whether the changes should be piloted.

The inquiry also looks at the effect that uncertainty about the new model is having on the sector and explores whether separate funding models are needed for refuges and other short-term supported housing services, or sheltered housing services for the elderly, which would require a higher cap.

How the localised funding pots would work, including how the money will be ring-fenced and which factors should be used to determine an areas allocation, are also investigated by the Committees. (more…)

ABC improved online reporting system

ancreportAshford Borough Council has improved its online reporting system, making it easier for residents to report issues such as flytipping, littering, dog fouling, vandalism, anti-social behaviour or planning enforcement issues.

The new system replaces some of its online forms and allows residents to report incidents and then track their progress via a unique reference number.

This is part of the council’s tough but fair approach to enforcement and compliance.
For more information, visit the ABC enforcement section. (more…)

Addressing homelessness

ABC CrestConsistently around 100 people a month approach Ashford Borough Council stating that they face the threat of homelessness and on Thursday 13th October Cabinet members agreed the council’s homelessness strategy.

A Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) report published on 28th September 2016 showed that local authorities across the country accepted 15,170 households as being statutorily homeless between 1st April and 30st June 2016, up 3% on the previous quarter and 10% on the same quarter of last year.

Of those representations, the council is able to prevent homelessness in 80% of those cases through the wide range of proactive options it has put in place. (more…)