Chief of NHF, David Orr has disclosed proposed changes to the welfare bill at the Commons CLG select committee inquiry into the extension of Right to Buy, which would permit housing associations to effectively decide independently how much rent to charge their tenants.
David confirmed that the NHF will be actively lobbying to rid the industry of rents set by the government within the next 5 years.
“I’m not convinced that it should be right for government to decide the income of charities in this way,” said David. The NHF chief stressed that the responsibility of setting rents should not lie with the government, saying that their unwanted involvement in the housing association sector for the past 17 years has been “an abject shambles.”
Housing associations have to be able to set their own rents, determine their own allocation policies, negotiate their own local agreements with partners in local government.
David Orr took issue with the announcement of an annual 1% decrease in rents over the 5 year tory term, saying "It will be about £3.8bn of lost capacity."
The NHF have long expressed concerns over the lack of independent control over rents by housing associations. In July in a post entitled “Owning Our Future” David wrote:
“This really has to change. We have made a strong and clear offer to government to work with them to develop the long-term housing strategy we need for our nation to be socially and economically resilient. We agree with the government that we need affordable home ownership for many more people.”
“We believe there needs also to be a genuinely affordable rented offer for those unable to afford or access owner occupation. We want to be the sector that fills the gap between the numbers of homes we are building now and the number we require.”
“Housing associations are at their best when they are able to be setters of their own future, not deliverers of someone else’s. They know and understand the places they work better than almost any others – certainly better than national government.”
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