Assets cannibalised and asset-stripped
On one side of the housing chasm, councils seem set to be forced to do the government’s bidding while having their assets cannibalised and asset-stripped. On the other, housing associations emerge blinking into the light of a brave new voluntary future. Exactly how bright and exactly how voluntary remains to be seen.
But if you combine all the changes in the Housing Bill the divide is now a chasm. The following will now be compulsory for councils but voluntary for associations:
- The Right to Buy
- Pay to Stay
- Fixed term tenancies for new tenants.
Given that these cover sales, rents and tenancies, those are fundamental differences. Especially when you consider that the government’s argument for extending the right to buy was to ensure that housing association tenants were treated fairly with the same rights as council tenants. ‘Fairness’ now seems to mean higher rents for modest earners and lower security for council tenants.
On top of that councils will pay for association discounts through a levy based on the sale of their high value stock. And while they will have to pay any extra income from Pay to Stay to the Treasury, associations will keep their receipts.
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