NHF calling on Housing Associations to promote themselves

The CEO of the National Housing federation is calling on Housing Associations to widen the services they offer and spend more time on promoting themselves.

Find out more here.

More information on housing and housing associations can be found here, at the National Housing Federation’s website.

Judge rules Leasehold Service Charges covered by Consumer Protection Laws

Case Reference: Levitt v London Borough of Camden

A new case concerning a hot water system disagreement between leaseholder and freeholder in an apartment in the London Borough of Camden, has reached an important conclusion: a ruling that the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations apply to the service charge provisions of long leases. The decision in the present case could be determinative of contribution obligations if similar cases arise elsewhere under similar leases.

To read the rest of this article and the details of the case, click here.

Councils detect £185m of fraud, but Audit Commission reckons ‘Tip of the Iceberg’

The organisation has just published its report ‘Protecting the Public Purse’ – billed as the country’s only annual survey of detected fraud against councils – and it shows that 121,000 scams were detected in 2010/11. The scams include false benefit claims, council tax discount cheating, unlawful use of council housing, cheating on council contracts, and also emerging trends such as criminals exploiting council’s transparency information to mislead councils.

However, councils have done better at detecting these scams over the last year, uncovering £185 million worth of scams, an improvement of 37 per cent from the previous year’s figure of £135 million. Even so, the Audit Commission estimates that councils could be losing up to £2 billion a year to fraudsters.

Read more on the Housing excellence website: http://www.housingexcellence.co.uk/news/council-detection-improves-fraudsters-are-still-raking-it-937445

Co-operative Housing Tenure Bill introduced into the Commons

The Labour MP for Stalybridge & Hyde, Jonathon Reynolds, has introduced a new Co-Operative Housing Tenure Bill into the House of Commons, as of 11 October 2011. He hopes to achieve recognition for the unique status of co-operative housing and, by doing so, boost investment in housing co-operatives and combat Britain’s housing shortage.

To read the rest of this article, click here.

New poll reveals 50 of life’s greatest pleasures

A survey just last week discovered that finding a £10 note in an old pair of jeans, getting into bed with freshly washed sheets and going on holiday are among life’s greatest pleasures.

The poll, carried out by Three Barrels Brandy,  took the opinion of 3,000 adults and aimed to discover what man kinds greatest pleasures are.

Sunshine was found to be a substantial cause of good moods – with examples such as waking up to a sunny day, sitting in the sun and driving with the car windows down on a sunny day all appearing in the top 20.

Other happy moments include being surprised with flowers or chocolates, getting a nice message or cuddle from a loved one, or getting a thank you card in the post.

Slightly less romanticised examples included ‘snogging’, lads nights out and winning a tenner on the lottery.

Overall, it serves as a nice reminder that simple things are what give people most pleasure.

Empty Homes Toolkits

As part of the Government’s wider initiative to combat the empty homes problem in the UK, a problem to the tune of reputedly 700,000 ‘void’ properties, the Department for Communities and Local Government released two online toolkits to help local communities and councils better identify empty homes and bring them back into use.

The first is the Geographical Information System (GIS) Empty Homes Mapping Toolkit, which plots the location of long-term empty homes in private ownership across the country. This has been developed to allow councils to pinpoint empty homes ‘hot spots’ in their area, and work with the landlords and local community to bring the derelict properties back into use.
The second is the Empty Homes Knowledge Toolkit, which is designed as a ‘one-stop shop’, giving local authorities, housing associations, empty property owners, landlords and the wider community access to everything they need to know about bringing properties back into use, including the legislative frameworks, partnership building and investment mechanisms.

Andrew Stunell MP commented:

“Long term empty properties easily fall into disrepair, attracting squatters, vandalism and anti-social behaviour, bringing down the neighbourhood and causing misery for neighbours.
“Local communities hold the keys to bringing these empty homes back into use and I hope these new toolkits encourage councils to work with them and the landlords to end the scandal of empty homes.

“They will sit alongside the new £100 million fund we have announced for refurbishing properties, and our commitment to match the council tax raised for every empty property brought back into use for six years. Together these are powerful incentives to encourage local areas to bring more properties back into use, and create new homes for thousands of families.”

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