Annus horribilis

As 2015 draws to an end it’s worth reflecting on what a horrid year this has been for housing associations. Attacked by Downing Street for waste and tardiness, lured into a premature and unnecessary right to buy deal that split the sector, re-classified as public bodies, hit by grant and rent cuts, the replacement of affordable homes by starter homes on section 106 sites – the list is long. Could it have been much worse? Continue reading

Let us go backwards together

Do you remember MIRAS? Mortgage Interest Relief had existed in the sixties and seventies but the “At Source” aspect was introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1983 and gave homebuyers automatic tax relief on their interest payments. It was widely seen as a middle-class perk, and I can remember having heated arguments with Conservatives who refused to accept that mortgage-payers were on a par with council tenants when it came to “subsidy”. Continue reading

Bill of wrongs

Today’s Housing Bill contains nothing that was surprising, except it is stuffed with omissions. Almost everything that could have been of interest is left to subsequent regulations by the Secretary of State. There is much of merit on rogue landlords and planning issues, and pay to stay is included, but I will focus on the three key issues that have exercised us over the past few weeks. Continue reading