Housing associations ‘should be penalised’

Housing associations should face penalties if they refuse to accept
homeless people in need of social housing from councils, leaders in
the field have warned.

The Local Government Association said “stricter rules” should be
applied to housing associations, with the threat of social housing
grants being withdrawn if they do not act fairly.

The Chartered Institute of Housing agreed that the regulatory code
overseen by the Housing Corporation, the body that regulates
housing associations, should be “strengthened”

The CIH wants housing associations to be forced to abide by the
code. Failure to do so should be highlighted during annual
performance assessments.

The call follows “clear anecdotal evidence” that some housing
associations are refusing to take some undesirable tenants
nominated by councils, which have a statutory duty to house them.
Such tenants include those in rent arrears or with antisocial
behaviour orders.

The problem is worse in areas where councils have transferred all
their housing stock to housing associations and are being forced to
rely on the private sector.

According to the LGA this can result in those in need of social
housing being left in temporary accommodation.

The government has attempted to tackle the problem with new
guidelines to ensure councils and housing associations co-operate
in tackling homelessness.

However the LGA said government guidelines to tackle the problem
were “not strong enough” and is calling for further discussions
with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

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