Social Housing And Regeneration Shake-Up

The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 has created new arrangements for social housing and stimulating regeneration. The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) will now take over the roles and responsibilities previously held by the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships. This is a major shake-up in the management of social housing, and places increased emphasis on participation by social housing tenants in decisions which affect them.

The Act draws the many roles and responsibilities for social housing together under the responsibility of the HCA, creating an opportunity for HCA to use its regeneration powers to boost the creation of new social housing and the maintenance of existing housing stock.

The Act also created two other new bodies: the Tenant Services Authority (TSA) and the National Tenant Voice (NTV).

TSA: The TSA is the regulator for social housing, taking over many of the functions previously carried out by English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation. By April 2010 TSA will regulate all social housing providers (not just RSLs and not-for profit organisations), including local authority landlords and arms length management organisations.

The TSA is drawing up new national standards for social housing. Consultation on the draft standards is open until 5 February 2010. TSA is also producing good practice notes for providers of social housing. Developers should consider the consultation drafts of the new standards carefully, as changes to required standards may affect the viability of schemes with a high proportion of affordable social housing.

NTV: The aim of the NTV is to increase the collective influence of social tenants on policies that affect them. The NTV's role is currently restricted to representing tenants of social housing, and not tenants in private rented accommodation. However, NTV intends to expand its remit later to include representing the interests of private tenants. NTV will have a board of directors, which will include tenant members. Below board level, the National Tenant Council will comprise 50 tenants, of whom 24 will be nominated from existing tenant organisations and 26 will be nominated through open recruitment. The NTV is expected to be up and running by early 2010. The NTV's role is described as encompassing four main areas: advocacy, research, communication and supporting existing national and regional tenants' associations. The NTV will receive Government funding each year for its work. NTV...

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